A massive sixth inning by Fayette cost Marceline a chance at an undefeated Lewis & Clark Conference season at home on Thursday night. The Tigers lost, 8-6.
The Tigers entered the sixth inning with a 5-1 lead before a pair of three-run home runs and cost them the lead. Fayette hit another solo shot in the top of the seventh.
Marceline sophomore Sarah Kussman singled in a run in the bottom of the last, but the Tigers stranded her as the tying run on first base.
Before Thursday evening, Marceline had defeated Fayette in at least 11 consecutive matchups.
"It was kind of a tale of two different games," Marceline coach Todd Lowther said. "(Senior pitcher Savanna Kelly) was pitching really well early on, and in the sixth inning, Fayette just got the best of her. We left some baserunners on and made some mistakes on the base paths, and we didn't capitalize on as much as we could have.
"Unfortunately, they hit the ball and there wasn't much we could do. We just didn't play the full seven tonight. Give Fayette a lot of credit."
Marceline got four of its six runs in the first three innings. Third baseman Kenzie Stahl scored in both the first and second innings, and Baylee Jobson and Jenna Elam crossed the plate in the third.
Stahl scored again in the fourth, and the Tigers had total control before the sixth-inning carousel.
The Tigers finished with 10 hits off of Fayette's Jordyn Ball. Ball was responsible for the second of the two three-run dingers in the top of the sixth inning.
Fayette finished with 11 hits, although the Falcons posted just one through the first three innings. Five of those hits came in the six-run sixth.
Marceline's Stahl, Ciarrah Bell, and Jobson all had a pair of hits. In total, Marceline left 10 runners on base, including three in the first and two to end the game.
Fayette, now with just one loss in the Lewis & Clark, can force a three-way tie for the conference championship if it can defeat Salisbury next week and none of the three teams take another conference loss.
"We're a much improved team, and we've been up-and-coming, and we knew this was a big test for us," Fayette coach Michael James said. "Marceline is a fantastic team, and they didn't make many mistakes, but our girls put the ball in play, and this is something that we can build off of. It puts us in position now to make the last week of the season important, and we've never had much of that."
Marceline falls to 15-4 entering this weekend's tournament in Schuyler County, and Fayette improves to 15-3. Fayette's only conference loss was to Schuyler in mid-September.