Amanda Swedberg singled to lead off the bottom of the fifth before the next two Spartans were retired. Mindy Smits worked a walk before Erin Simmons singled to get the scoring going.
“I think it really started with Amanda," junior third baseman Simmons said. "Getting on base was a huge thing for us. That motivated me to get that hit.”
Allison Polly poked a soft liner to the shortstop that was dropped to load the bases, and Richards roped a single to plate two runs.
“Everyone knows as soon as you feel pressure, it’s not going to go your way, so you’ve got to treat it like a 0-0 ballgame," Richards said. "You’ve just got to say, ‘I’ve just got to see this ball.’ You just have to see the ball through and it no longer becomes me, it becomes we. And you’ve just got to get someone moving around.”
Kenzie Schlosser knocked a sharp infield single off the pitcher's glove that brought Haley Trela to the plate. Trela put the ball into the air in right. The ball found the right fielder's glove, only to fall to the grass. Three runs came around and Trela slid into third in what was then an 11-10 ballgame.
Swedberg walked following Trela, bringing Reynolds to the plate. Reynolds knocked the ball to the right side of the infield and the ball and it was flubbed again, which proved enough to plate Trela for the game's tying run.
The Braves committed three errors in the inning to help the Spartans chances, including the dropped ball at shortstop and one in right field that would have ended the fifth before Sycamore was able to knot up the score.
“Like I told our kids, if we make one of those three plays, we dropped a ball, dropped another ball, kicked the ball some more there, if we make any of those plays we win. But we didn’t," Mt. Zion coach Greg Blakey said. "Credit to (Sycamore) for staying resilient."
As far as the Spartans were concerned, there were few doubts about what the Spartans were going to do, even as Mt. Zion's offense had pounded Sycamore early.
“All of us were like we have nothing to lose. We’re at state," Simmons said. "We’re really proud of ourselves for making it this far and we’re not going to go down without a fight and I just think that was our mindset.”
Now the Spartans are playing for the 3A title at 11:30 a.m. Saturday against St. Francis.
"We earned that," Richards said. "We earned that win."