The Circle Thunderbirds gave the Orioles everything they could handle, but Augusta's softball team prevailed 2-1 after eight innings to advance to the Class 4A regional championship.
Scheduled start time is 6:30 p.m. Augusta plays the winner of the Andale-Hesston semifinal.
Both Circle and Augusta were scoreless through four innings before the Orioles finally got on the scoreboard in the fifth. Kalie Robinson muscled out an opposite-field bloop single to shallow right field. On the next at-bat, Brooke Eberhardt crushed a line drive down the right-field line for an RBI double and a 1-0 Augusta lead.
Circle answered right back in the sixth. Reagan Wilson led off with a single, Alexis Wiebe advanced her on an Oriole error to put Thunderbird runners on the corners. Senior Jacy Gibbs then lined an RBI double to left field and Wilson just beat the tag at home to tie the game 1-1.
Circle had a chance to take the lead in the eighth inning by getting two runners on with one out. But Brooke Eberhardt came through with a crucial strikeout and got a grounder to get out of the jam.
Casady Marlnee crushed a line drive down the left-field line for a lead-off double. After a passed ball, Abby Tipton hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field for the game winner.
Check back online for an update on the Orioles' championship game and bid to go to the state tournament.