8-run 5th inning sends Diamond to run-rule of Forsyth

May 14—DIAMOND, Mo. — The top of the fifth inning on Tuesday began with Diamond leading Forsyth 4-1 in their state sectional softball game at Diamond High School.

The Wildcats (36-1) scored eight runs in the frame for a 12-1 run-rule win over the Panthers. They now advance to the state semifinals at 11 a.m. Monday at Missouri State University in Springfield.

"They just lit it up and started hitting the ball well," Diamond coach Kelsey Parrish said.

Sophomore first baseman Talyn Daniels started and finished the scoring in the bottom of the fifth. She led off with a solo home run just over the center field fence to make it 5-1.

"The home run was super nerve-wracking but also super exciting because it was my first home run of the season," Daniels said. "And, you know, it's a good time to have a home run. Especially during a stressful game like this."

"That's so awesome," Parrish said. "She's been in the cage day in and day out. She deserved that."

Parrish said she believes Daniels has been robbed of a home run twice this year. Diamond's fence is too tall for anyone to be able to leap up and rob a home run, though.

Later in the inning, Diamond led 10-1, and she dug back into the right-handed batter's box with Sara Roszell on first base. She hit a laser into left field that one-hopped in front of the Forsyth outfielder and scooted between her legs and rolled to the fence. That scored Roszell to make it 11-1, and the throw back in to the infield was cut off at shortstop and fired to third to try to get Daniels. The ball went into the dugout and gave Daniels an extra base, making it officially 12-1.

"I didn't even know it was the end of the game. Coach just came up from behind and grabbed me and then the ump told me to go home (after the ball rolled out of play). Everything happened all at once," Daniels said.

The Wildcats got three home runs in the game. They started with Caitlyn Suhrie's two-run homer in the third inning — her 13th of the year. Then Taelyn Reeder hit a solo shot in the fourth to make it 3-1.

Diamond's freshman, Reeder, started the game in the circle as well. She pitched four innings, allowed one run and struck out seven batters. Reeder allowed three hits and walked one batter.

She worked through a couple of 3-0 counts in the first inning and came back to strike out both batters. She had a jam in the fourth as she allowed a solo home run to Forsyth's Lindsey Essary. She later walked a batter and allowed a double to be dealing with runners on first and third with two outs. She escaped the trouble by getting a ground out to Lauren Turner at shortstop.

Forsyth's Essary pitched the entire game and was the notable player on offense with her 16th home run of the year — a Panther record. Head coach Jeff Walls talked about her and the team's battle to keep the game close until the fifth.

"Diamond's a great team. They're 36-1 for a reason," Walls said. "We gave them all they wanted for the first four innings. We make a couple misplays and a couple mistakes and they take advantage of it. Great teams do. They have an excellent shot to go all the way, and I wish their coaches and team all the luck.

"(Essary) had a great year. She carried us on her back the last few weeks. We went from being 7-12 to 17-15. We made a run. It was fun."

Forsyth ended the season 17-16.

After Daniels' home run in the fifth, Diamond piled it on with multiple hits. Kabrie Parmley got an infield single off the glove of the second baseman with a low line drive. Grace Frazier doubled her in to make it 5-1. Lauren Turner doubled in two and the Wildcats led 7-1.

Reeder then hit a sharp ground ball past the third baseman and Turner scored to make it 8-1. Aubrey Ball doubled over the right fielder's head to put runners on second and third. Marissa DeJager singled through the left side of the infield and Reeder scored. The 10th run was scored on an error.

Diamond is ready to take care of what coach Parrish calls "unfinished business" in Springfield on Monday against Willow Springs. Willow Springs (24-6) defeated Houston (19-4) 10-2 on Tuesday.

"I think it's awesome. These seniors have been there three out of four years. We have unfinished business from last year to go and do," Parrish said.