Needing just one strike to extend the Class 3 quarterfinals, Chillicothe junior pitcher Sarah Baldwin can’t help but take the blame. That’s just her style.
The all-everything softball player just wanted a chance to perform on the state’s biggest stage. Instead, a Boonville solo home run gave the Pirates a 1-0 victory and crushed Chillicothe’s postseason aspirations for a third straight year.
“It was so hard. I cried for days afterward,” said Baldwin, the 2010 News-Press softball player of the year. “That’s the thing. The whole team, we all knew we were going to state. We just knew it. Very last inning, two strikes on the girl, and she hits a home run. That’s so hard on me. I had to go through a lot of people telling me, ‘It’s not my fault.’”
Despite the disappointment, Baldwin led the Hornets to a 25-5 season and a Midland Empire Conference championship.
She struck out 303 batters in just 164 1/3 innings of work and earned 21 wins with her 0.26 ERA (only six earned runs allowed all year). Baldwin also hit .529 with three home runs, 12 doubles and 21 RBIs as the Hornets top hitter.
Behind her dominant mound presence, Chillicothe won a sixth straight district title but advanced to the quarterfinals for only the second time in that span.
“We got one step farther, and next year, we’re going to get one step more and maybe even farther,” Baldwin said.
ALL NEWS-PRESS SOFTBALL TEAMS ❯ First Team P Kendle Schieber Jr. Jefferson P Sarah Baldwin* Jr. Chillicothe P Kaily Purtle Sr. Smithville C Jill Lucas Jr. Hamilton C Jill Henry So. Jefferson C Sarah Logsdon Sr. Mid-Buch IF Elsie Greenwood So. Hamilton IF Torri Blythe So. Maysville IF Taylor Gadbois Sr. Maryville IF Kaley Pyles Jr. DeKalb OF Anna Schultz So. B. LeBlond
❯ Second Team P Alex Arevalo Jr. Benton C Sophie Gentry Fr. B. LeBlond C Kirstie Ickes Sr. SW Livingston OF Bailey Keith Sr. Chillicothe OF Justice Vannaman So. Benton IF Brooke Gillard Sr. Worth County IF Ashley Chor So. Jefferson IF Maddy Misel Sr. Polo IF Darcie Schieber Jr. Jefferson IF Cheyenne Ellis Jr. Benton IF Emilee Buckler Jr. North Platte *Denotes player of the year