ST. JOSEPH — Bunting and Andrea Coursey never quite fit in the same sentence.
Until Saturday. Now they go hand in hand.
The St. Joseph-Ogden freshman laid down a suicide squeeze bunt to bring home the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning during the Spartans’ heart-stopping 6-5 victory against Unity to earn a Class 2A regional championship on Saturday.
“This one is for the memory books,” veteran SJ-O coach Randy Wolken said after the Spartans won their 31st regional title in program history and sixth straight.
Especially for Coursey, who had not performed the high-risk situation yet at SJ-O.
“We practice them in practice almost every day, and she’s told me before, ‘I hope you give me the signal because I can do it,’ ” Wolken said. “She seemed all pumped up to do it. She didn’t seem nervous at all.”
Coursey’s bunt toward the first-base line helped Allison Rose sprint home from third base with the winning run.
“Allison did a great job getting a jump off third,” Wolken said. “She got to full speed real quick, and she looked to see where the throw was. When the throw was chest high, she went straight in with her slide. She read it well.”
Rose singled and stole second base before Mady Poulter sacrificed her to third with a bunt before Coursey’s at-bat provided the second dramatic sequence of events in the seventh.
Unity tied the game at 5 in the top half of the inning when Gracie Schweighart hit a grand slam.
“You’ve got to give Unity a ton of credit,” Wolken said. “They didn’t get down or give up, but we recovered pretty well. I was proud of them for not getting shook up.”