Despite a great run to the title game, the Eagles came up just short on Saturday against Grand View.
Overland Park, KS - After defeating top-seeded Central Methodist for the second time in two days, the Eagles came up short in the Heart Championship game, falling 3-0 to the Grand View Vikings.
The Eagles entered the tournament as the No. 5-seed, and made an impressive run through the tournament to get to their second consecutive Heart Championship game, but were unable to defeat Grand View's Claudia Farrell, who surrendered just one hit in Saturday's title game.
Semifinal: Avila 3 vs. Central Methodist 2 (Box Score)
|Avila (Mo.)||0||3||0||0||0||0||0|| ||3||6||1|
|Central Methodist (Mo.)||1||0||0||0||0||0||1|| ||2||5||0|
Freshman Kayleigh Behymer pitched beyond her years in Saturday's semifinal victory over Central Methodist, throwing a complete game to push the Eagles into their second straight championship game with a 3-2 victory.
Behymer surrendered just five hits, giving up a single run in the first inning and one more in the seventh. She finished the game with 8 strikeouts, including a pair of punch outs against Heart Player of the Year Lauren Geringer.
After falling behind by a run after one inning, the Eagles bounced back with three runs in the top of the second inning to take back the lead for good.
The Eagles tied the game when junior Madison Mueth executed a perfect sacrifice bunt, scoring Kayla Robison. Three batters later, Mackenzie Pritchett drove home Madison Price with an infield single to put Avila on top, 2-1, and then Abby King drew a bases loaded walk to bring home what proved to be the winning run, putting Avila up, 3-1.
Behymer danced in and out of trouble over the final six innings, walking five, but never allowed Central Methodist to get the big hit they so desperately needed.
Central Methodist cut Avila's lead in half with a Hannah Blackmon solo home run, but Behymer recovered nicely, striking out Addyson Reardon to end the game.
The victory was Avila's third straight against Central Methodist in Heart Tournament play, and the first of the three games to end in just seven innings.
Championship Game: Avila 0 vs. Grand View 3 (Box Score)
|Grand View (Iowa)||1||0||0||1||0||0||1|| ||3||6||1|
|Avila (Mo.)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|| ||0||1||2|
For a second straight game, the Eagles were shut down by Grand View's Claudia Farrell, who threw a complete game, one-hitter to help the Vikings to their first Heart Tournament Championship title in their first season in the conference.
Farrell took a no-hitter into the bottom of the seventh, but freshman Madison Price broke it up with a one out single to right to give the Eagles hope in the final inning. Unfortunately for Avila, Farrell recovered, getting Kaycee Dexter and Madison Mueth to fly out to end the threat.
Freshman Kyenne Wade got the start in the circle for the Eagles, giving up 2 runs (1 earned) in four innings of work before giving way to junior Tori Aziere. In her three innings of work, Aziere gave up just on unearned run in the seventh inning.
The Eagles were just never able to get anything going against Farrell, who pitched 14 scoreless innings against Avila in the last two games, striking out 20.
The loss likely ends the season for Avila as they finish with a program-record 35 victories, but a fifth place regular season finish in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.
Over the last two seasons, the Eagles have won a combined 67 games while making it to back-to-back Heart Tournament Chamionship games. Over the previous seven seasons (2008-14), the Eagles won a combined 70 games.
The future is very bright for this team as they will graduate just one senior from a team that won 35 games in 2016, though that lone senior, Caitlyn Shireman, was a great leader for the Eagles in the dugout this season.