Early offense fuels Trenton’s fire in 5-0 shutout, advancing Lady Bulldogs to state quarterfinals

In past disappointments in postseason play at Mark Griffin Memorial Field for the Trenton Lady Bulldogs, there generally had been a painful storyline that had held fast over numerous years.  The opponent would get the lead, THS would rally late, and came up just short of a dramatic victory.  Two years removed from a state quarterfinal loss to All-State pitcher Brooke Huitt and the Lathrop Lady Mules, on Wednesday night, Trenton got a chance to avenge that 2016 loss, and move one step closer to the Final Four in Springfield.

On a brilliant fall evening at Trenton High School, the Lady Bulldogs pounced on Huitt early, leaving little doubt about the outcome of the quarterfinal game, beating the KCI’s Lady Mules from Lathrop by a score of 5-0.

After starting pitcher Ainsley Tolson retired the Mules in order in the top of the first inning, the Trenton senior, leading off the Bulldog first inning, came out swinging against Huitt.  Tom Johnson had the play-by-play call on Hot Country Z 101.7:

With Tolson on third base, Mykah Hurley walked and stole second base, and Maci Moore had an infield single, with adept base-running by Tolson forcing a throw home, while she scampered safely back to third.  Huitt picked up the 1000th strikeout of her stellar career, ringing up Salem Croy for the first out, with senior left fielder Taylor Richman stepping to the plate for THS:

Up 2-0 in the bottom of the 2nd inning, McKayla Blackburn opened the frame for the Bulldogs with a bunt single, with Chandler Lynch reaching on a drop of a popped up bunt between home and 1st, with the throw to second base, for a potential force, thrown into center field.  Tolson grounded to second to move up both runners, but Hurley struck out, leaving runners on second and third and two outs, a golden RBI opportunity for sophomore Maci Moore:

Up 5-0, the final five innings turned into the pitcher’s duel between Huitt and Tolson expected from the outset, with Huitt settling down to strike out a total of 13 Trenton batters in her final performance for Lathrop.  Tolson, in earning the victory from the circle, allowed just three base-runners in a shutout effort.  Trenton is now 25-2 on the season, with Lathrop ending the campaign at 20-3.  Lady Bulldog Head Coach John Cowling said it was clear early that Tolson’s focus was special:

Tolson, looking to finish her Trenton softball career with a trip to the Final Four in Springfield, spoke about her excitement in seeing Richman’s first inning double, early run support for her efforts:

Trenton (25-2) will play at Holden against the Lady Eagles on Saturday in the state quarterfinals, with the first pitch to be decided early Thursday morning.  Holden, a 12-1 winner over Richmond on Wednesday night, is 25-6 on the season.

Other Class 2 final scores were:

East Carter 5, Kelly 4 (16 innings)

Montgomery County 14, Hancock 4

Bowling Green vs. Highland – Thursday at 5:00 PM

Tolton Catholic 6, Marceline 1

Blair Oaks 15, Cuba 0

Warsaw 11, Willow Springs 1

Class 1 final scores were:

Norwood 8, Crocker 2

Weaubleau 14, Marion C. Early 2

Maysville 11, Braymer 1

Stanberry 11, North Harrison 1

Pilot Grove 4, Vienna 3

Salisbury 8, Silex 0

Knox County 8, LaPlata 5

Meadville 5, Brunswick 2

Class 3 final scores were:

Hillsboro 5, Perryville 0

Notre Dame (St. Louis) 14, Westminster Christian Academy 1

Oak Grove 11, Nevada 1

Savannah 12, Kirksville 2

St. Charles 10, Trinity Catholic 0

Mexico 8, St. Dominic 1

Sullivan 4, St. Francis Borgia 1

Bolivar 6, McDonald County 3

Class 4 final scores were:

Oakville 8, Northwest (Cedar Hill) 3

Marquette 3, Webster Groves 0

Blue Springs South 3, Truman 0

Liberty 4, Staley 3

Francis Howell Central 10, Hazelwood West 0

Troy Buchanan 4, Jefferson City 0

Ozark 7, Camdenton 6

Raymore-Peculiar 11, Republic 2

Photo credit – Jim Bligh / UClickTV / Trenton, MO