The Marjory Stoneman Douglas (Fla.) High softball team is no stranger to working overtime to earn a win. En route to the school's fourth consecutive District 10-6A softball title, the Eagles played in a handful of extra-inning games.
Still, nothing could prepare Douglas for what faced it on Wednesday, when the Eagles and Lake Worth (Fla.) Park Vista took the concept of extra innings to a new level in a regional quarterfinal matchup: The two teams played the equivalent of two games to decide one.
According to the Miami Herald and South Florida Sun Sentinel, Douglas eventually emerged victorious, thanks to a two-out rally in the bottom of the 14th inning, with senior Sammy Ruffalo scoring a game-tying run on a triple by pitcher Hayley Reinfeld, with Reinfeld scoring the winning run thanks to an outfield single by her sister, Courtney Reinfeld.
"If we lost this game it would be the last game for all the seniors, and I think we just all really wanted it," Hayley Reinfeld told the Herald. "Regardless of the outs, we're still going to try 100 percent and not give up at all."
Perhaps most amazingly, both teams used only their starting pitchers, even as the game dragged on, inning after inning. Reinfeld eventually finished with 10 strikeouts, with Park Vista pitcher Laura Downs matching her nearly feat for feat, closing what turned out to be her season finale with nine strikeouts.
And for 13 innings, that was the dominant theme, as neither squad could capitalize on runners in scoring position. The Herald reported that Douglas had runners in scoring position in each of the innings between the sixth and 14th, bar one, and Park Vista appeared on the verge of scoring in both the 11th and 12th.
Still, neither side could break through, until the 14th, when the floodgates finally opened just wide enough to let the Eagles squeak past into the regional semifinals.
"Laura [Downs is] phenomenal. She's a workhorse," Park Vista coach Chuck Layman told the Sun Sentinel. "That 42nd out became elusive there."