Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gac Softball Title: Three-Team Affair

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gac Softball Title: Three-Team Affair

Article excerpt

With one swing of the bat Thursday afternoon, Jennifer Wiechens turned the Gateway Athletic Conference softball championship into a three-team affair.

Wiechens, a Francis Howell High junior, hit the first pitch in the bottom of the seventh to the gap in right-center field and circled the bases to lift the Vikings past Wentzville 4-3 in a GAC game played at C-H Park.

Wentzville, Duchesne and St. Charles West all finish at 6-2 atop the GAC and will share the 1994 title.

"We didn't win it ourselves, but it was nice to be the spoiler," said Howell coach Morris Johnson, whose Vikings finished 5-3 in the GAC. "We're so hot right now, it's unbelievable. We've been in situations like this a lot in the last week or so. The girls believe in themselves and we've been playing some great ball."

Howell (12-11) won the Class 4A District 6 crown Wednesday and was to play Hazelwood Central in Saturday's state sectionals.

The Vikings are on quite a run. After dropping four consecutive one-run decisions to end the regular season, fifth-seeded Howell beat No. 4 St. Dominic 2-1, No. 1 Hannibal 1-0 and No. 2 Warrenton 4-3 to capture its first district title last week.

The victory over Wentzville was Howell's eighth consecutive one-run game.

"I'd have to say winning districts was more exciting, but this is close," Wiechens said. "We knew Wentzville'd be tough, but we came into today with a lot of confidence. We've been beating some good teams, so today wasn't really that big a surprise to us."

The Vikings definitely have a flair for the dramatic. Wentzville, which has earned a share of the last three GAC titles, rallied in the top of the seventh to erase a 3-1 deficit. But before the Indians had settled into their positions in the bottom of the inning, Wiechens answered.

"When we came off the field, the coaches kept reminding us that we still had our chance to hit," said Wiechens, the All-GAC third baseman as a sophomore. …

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