SPRING HILL — Springstead will get its third chance this season to overtake Forest in tonight's Class 5A, District 7 championship.
The Eagles defeated Central 6-2 in Wednesday's semifinal, but it took a five-run outburst in the bottom of the fifth.
Springstead (15-5) was behind early in the pitchers' duel between Alexis Adams (six strikeouts, two walks, two earned runs) and Megan Baker, who each tossed complete games. Adams had to be patient as Springstead's bats took a long while to wake up.
Central (7-15) scratched out two runs in the top of third on two hits. Brenna Warren and Kim Paino's back-to-back hits led to a couple stolen bases. A wild pitch and an RBI groundout from Keeria McKenzie was enough to put the Bears up 2-0.
"Teams that put the bat on the ball always have a chance to be in the game," Springstead coach Craig Swartout said. "Central is well-coached and they put a lot of pressure on you."
Eventually the bats got going for the Eagles. Leadoff hitter Gina Thompson (2-for-3, double, run scored, three RBIs, stolen base) knocked in runs both times that Springstead's offense struck against Baker.
"We usually come alive in the later innings," Thompson said, "and we were able to key in on (Baker)."
Eagle Hailey Drawe reached base in all three plate appearances, going 1-for-3 with a single, fielder's choice and reaching on an error. She scored twice.