Senior Riley Laub saved the game with an improbable double play in the bottom of the seventh inning, then started the winning rally in the top of the eighth to help Republic edge Rogersville 6-5 in the regular-season finale.
In the bottom of the seventh, Rogersville put the first two runners on base with a walk and an error. The next batter hit a long fly ball to left field, sending Laub back toward the fence. She turned back toward the plate just in time to make the catch – with a little help from center fielder Megan Weis – then threw the ball back to the infield, where Republic doubled-off the runner on second base.
“It was a high, hard-hit ball, and I turned straight back and started running. I put my head down and I was ready to play it off the fence,” Laub said. “But then I heard Megan telling me to turn around and catch the ball. So I turned around and it was right there. She kind of saved me on that one, I guess.”
After the double play, Avery Romans worked out of the inning to keep the game tied.
In the top of the eighth, Laub hit a one-out double and scored on a single by Mara Lakey. A double by Jaiden Gibbs later in the inning scored Lakey, giving Republic a 6-4 lead.
Rogersville threatened in the bottom of the eighth, scoring a run and putting runners on first and third with one out. Romans struck out the next batter to preserve the lead, and Emma White caught a line drive up the middle to record the last out.
The win allows Republic to end the regular season on a high note against a good opponent after suffering three conference losses to end the COC slate.
“This is like a district game right here, and it shows when we want to go get it, we can go get it,” said coach Lee Dishman. “I told the girls we still are the defending district champions. The road’s got to go through us to get there.”
Republic out-hit Rogersville 11-8. Weis was 4-for-4 for Republic and scored twice. Laub was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Jaiden Gibbs and Katie Anderson each drove in two runs.
Republic ends the regular season with a 17-9 record. The Lady Tigers play in the district semifinals against the winner of the Neosho/Joplin game. Game time is 6:30.