After edging the North Des Moines ‘Nitros’ 2-1 in a game where Mount Pleasant threw out the tying run at home late, the ‘Hot Stix’ pulled off a huge stunner by dominating the national tournament-bound Ottumwa ‘Rampage’ 9-2 in the semifinals.
In their rematch with Knoxville, Mount Pleasant seemed to have things wrapped up scoring four runs in the top of the final inning regulation inning. Knoxville, however, rallied from 5-1 down to tie the game on a one-out throwing error before the ‘Hot Stix’ again had to throw a runner out at home to stay alive.
After home Lexie Magnani on a fielding error in the top of the fifth, Knoxville again threatened with the tying and winning runs in scoring position. A call to the bullpen brought on Ghianna Glaha, who rallied from a 3-0 hole strike out the first two batters she faced before getting a game ending ground out back to the pitching circle to finally set off a wild celebration.
“I needed to get those first three pitches to get myself warmed up, I guess,” Glaha said after being chased around Field Five at Ottumwa Park by her enthusiastic teammates in the post-game celebration.
“You just can never say enough about how much earning something like this means to a group of young girls like this,” Hot Stix head coach Jason Smith said. “The main thing I told them going into (Sunday) was to just have fun. Don’t worry about anything else. It was getting a little dicey there at the end, but the girls never gave up and they found a way to win this.”
Mount Pleasant joins the Ottumwa and Knoxville 12U squads who had already qualified for national tournament play in Kansas City in on July 14. Also qualifying for the 10U national tournament was Davenport’s ‘Future Lady Knights,’ who like Mount Pleasant needed some late-game heroics to keep their state title hopes alive on Sunday.