May 18—WATHENA, Kan. — Troy freshman Emerson Weber hit a line drive down the right field line, scoring senior Paige Hinds to beat McLouth 1-0 in walk-off fashion in Tuesday's KSHSAA 2-1A regional championship.
Troy (20-0) was held to just one hit in the first six innings against Corissa Bandel before Hinds and Weber lifted the Trojans to victory at Wathena City Park.
With senior Avery Euler, junior Paityn Engemann and Hinds ahead of her, coach Kyle McConnaughey wasn't sure Weber would even get the chance to bat. But with Euler and Engemann striking out and popping out, Hinds' base hit brought up the freshman.
"That freshman has done big things this year. She's been in every situation," McConnaughey said. "I was hoping the moment wasn't too big, and I should've known it wasn't because she's been that kid all season."
At the end of the day, Weber tallied two of Troy's three hits against McLouth (16-4).
Engemann, who eclipsed double-digit strikeouts in the 12-2 win in the semifinal victory against Riverside earlier in the day, shined again in the championship. The junior righty fanned 12 batters and allowed just one hit.
"She really stepped up. The moment's never too big," McConnaughey said. "She does get nervous, but that's just what the game means to her. When it got into that McLouth game, she had the right mindset and just kinda took over and was the pitcher everybody knows she is."
The two pitchers combined for 20 strikes and conceded just four hits after cruising to run-rule victories in their respective semifinals.
"It was hard because you couldn't get too many girls on with both pitchers," McConnaughey said. "She really kept us guessing. Girls came up with big clutch hits to give us a chance to be in it. It was a lot of fun. It's good to be on the winning end."
Troy entered the postseason as just one of two 2-1A teams with unblemished records and now await their path to a state championship as they look for the best finish to a season by any Trojans girls team. No Troy program has done better than fourth place at a girls championship.
"There's still a lot of people who don't give us the respect we feel we deserve," McConnaughey said. "It's about us going out and winning that now and showing people we do deserve to be there."
Brandon Zenner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowZenner.