Willard walks-off in extras to reach state championship

Sports

OZARK, Mo. — Willard Baseball (26-10) is headed to the state championship for the first time since 2003 behind an eight-inning, 4-3 walk-off win over Fort Zumwalt South in the Class 5 Semifinals.

The Tigers scored a pair of runs on three hits to claim the lead after two innings, but gave one back in the top of the 3rd.

From there, the score stayed 2-1 until the bottom of the 6th when Willard got an insurance run on a fielder’s choice groundout.

It must have felt a bit like deja vu for the Tigers as they took the field for the 7th inning.

Two years ago, Willard held a 3-1 lead in the final inning of the semifinal before falling 4-3.

On Friday, they again entered the 7th with a 3-1 lead and again the other side mounted a rally.

Fort Zumwalt South loaded the bases and proceeded to plate a pair of runs to tie the game at 3-3 and send the semifinal to extra innings.

Unlike back in 2019, though, Willard had no plans to go home early this year.

The Tigers loaded the bases as well before Landon Moore drew the walk, sending Cooper Hampton home and sending Willard to the championship game with a 4-3 walk-off win.

The Tigers will face Grain Valley (27-8) in the Class 5 Final on Saturday.

First pitch at U.S. Baseball Park is set for 1:30 pm.

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