Fresh from winning the school’s first softball district title since 1980, the Borgia softball Lady Knights will hit the road Wednesday.
“That’s crazy to think about,” Borgia Head Coach Andrew Eggert said. “It’s one of those things that we’ve been toward for all year. It’s just one those things that we look at this goal and keep going. It’s pretty wild that it’s been so long.”
Borgia (18-6) will play at Festus (18-8) Wednesday in a MSHSAA Class 3 sectional game. The contest will be played at Sunset Park in Festus with a 4:30 p.m. start time. The MSHSAA-mandated admission is $7.
Wednesday’s winner will play the winner of Wednesday’s sectional between Cape Notre Dame (24-3) and Hillsboro (26-3) in Cape Girardeau. If Notre Dame and Borgia win Wednesday, Borgia would host a quarterfinal Saturday. If Borgia and Hillsboro win, the game will be in Hillsboro. If Festus wins, it will be on the road no matter which school wins the other sectional.
“We’ve got a pretty good system in place,” Eggert said. “We know we can enjoy this now, but we have to go to work and see what we can do.”
Borgia’s players are confident as well.
“It will take a good offense,” catcher Beth Obermark said. “Our defense is solid. We’re going to have to put up good at-bats and put the ball in play. If we can do that, we can keep winning.”
Pitcher Lizzie Lynchard said taking things one game at a time also is important.
“I think we’re going to have to keep practicing a lot, take it one step at a time and keep focusing on one game at a time to keep going,” Lynchard said.
Center fielder MJ Maguire feels the team has the right attitude.
“I think we have what it takes,” Maguire said. “Our mental attitude is what helps us. I think we can go to the next level and take it all the way.”
Maguire, who has played for top club teams and is going to Quincy University to play next season, said the team chemistry is second to none.
“It’s really awesome,” Maguire said. “I think my team has a lot to do with it. We’ve got the best chemistry I’ve ever seen on a team. This is what we’ve been working all year for.”
Festus defeated Lutheran South, 10-5, to win its second district title in a row.
Last year, the Lady Tigers lost in the sectional round at Union, 9-1.
This year’s Festus squad comes into the sectional round on a nine-game winning streak. That includes a 12-1 win at St. Clair Oct. 2 prior to the start of district play.
In District 3, the Lady Tigers beat Notre Dame, 12-8, in the semifinals and Lutheran South in the championship game.
St. Clair and Notre Dame are two common opponents. Borgia beat St. Clair once and swept Notre Dame during Archdiocesan Athletic Association Large Division play.
“I think it’s a close, even matched game,” St. Clair Head Coach Garan McCuskey said. “In my opinion, (Borgia’s Lizzie) Lynchard is the stronger of the two pitchers. Both defenses are evenly matched. Festus may give them fits if they get on base; especially (Abigail) Rickerman. She is tough to get out. They are very aggressive on the bases and will take any and every base they can so Borgia will have to be very alert. There are strong arms in the outfield for both teams.”
Festus has used two pitchers this season and either one could start against the Lady Knights.
Cailey McFadden is 10-5 with a 2.93 ERA. She has started 14 games and pitched 88.1 innings, allowing 89 hits and 22 walks. She has struck out 48.
Sara Hoffman has 12 starts this season and she’s 8-3 with two saves and a 2.30 ERA. Over 73 innings, she’s allowed 67 hits and 20 walks while striking out 72.
Offensively, Rickermann is the team’s top batter with a .571 average over 91 at-bats. She has two doubles, one triple, one home run, 38 runs and 17 RBIs.
McFadden is a .478 hitter with seven doubles and one triple. She has 22 runs and 14 RBIs.
Hoffman hits .427 with 10 doubles, three triples and four home runs. She has scored 15 times and has driven in 38.
Erica Fletcher and Emilie Gibbar also hit over .400. Gibbar has a .434 average while Fletcher is hitting .425. Gibbar has two doubles, four triples, 19 runs and eight RBIs. Fletcher has two doubles, a triple, 26 runs and 10 RBIs.
Kaylee Williams has a .333 average with six doubles and three home runs. She has scored seven times and driven in 25.
Tristan Foulk is the team’s leader in home runs with five. She hits .259 with one double, 15 runs and 18 RBIs.