OZARK- The Southern Boone baseball team fought back from an early deficit in the Class 4 state baseball semi-finals to outlast Marshall 6-5 in 11 innings on Wednesday. The Eagles advanced to face Logan-Rogersville for the Class 4 championship.
Southern Boone, which entered the game with a 32-2 record and ranked number 1 in the state in Class 4, fell behind 4-0 in the third inning. Some sloppy defense and several walks issued by starting pitcher Hayden Steelman helped build Marshall's early lead.
But Southern Boone flipped the momentum in the bottom of the 3rd when Austin Evans took advantage of a misplayed ball in right field for an inside the park homerun. That play, along with solid pitching and defense the rest of the way, started their comeback.
Still trailing 5-3 and down to their last out in the 7th inning, Bradly Smith sent the game to extra innings with a 2-run single. The clutch hit saved Southern Boone's season and kept their championship hopes alive.
"We preach like a street fight mentality," said Southern Boone head coach Brian Ash. "Just claw, dig, fight, scratch, do everything we can to keep us in position to win the game."
Southern Boone failed to cash in on several chances to win in extra innings but finally finished off the comeback in the 11th inning. Austin Evans was the hero, lifting a fly ball to right field that drove in the winning run.
Ash said once the Eagles got the momentum in their dugout following Smith's game-tying hit in the 7th, it was just a matter of who would step up to make a play in extra innings.
"They do just such a good job pulling for one another," said Ash after the win. "There's no egos, it's always a different guy, it seems like, that steps up."
Southern Boone will take on Logan-Rogersville in pursuit of the first state baseball championship in school history on Thursday at 1 pm in Ozark.