PAYNESVILLE - In the third inning of Monday's Section 6AA playoff game between Paynesville and Foley, the entire field held their breath for a moment.
It was still early in the game, but it felt like the game was on the line. In truth, the ball was on the line.
Abby Schaefer drove the ball deep for the second time in the game, this time with the bases loaded, and it bounced off the top of the chain link fence in centerfield, and snuck over the fence for a grand slam. It was Schaefer's second home run of the game and, more importantly, put the Bulldogs ahead for the second time in the game.
Schaefer's grand slam highlighted a seven-run third inning that powered the Bulldogs to an 11-9 win that kept their season alive.
Paynesville will advance to take on Annandale at 2 p.m. today in Alexandria.
Foley scored in each of the first four innings but Paynesville, who also scored four runs in the first inning, kept the Falcons from having a big inning of their own.
Schaefer's counterpart in the pitching circle, McKenna Gross, also finished with two homers in the game but she took the loss with all 11 runs to her credit in 2-2/3 innings.
Paynesville overcame some fielding errors and left the bases juiced offensively later in the game but the Bulldogs held on.
"We're a persevering young group," said Paynesville head coach Tim Woehler.
Paynesville outhit their visitors 14-12, led by Angie Gjerke's three-hit day. Olivia Haines, Skylar burg and Megan Utsch each added two-hit games to Schaefer's big day.
Foley 122 103 0-9 12 3
Paynesville 407 000 0-11 14 3
Hitting - Foley: McKenna Gross 2-4 hr-2 rbi-4 r-2 ... Paynesville: Abby Schaefer 2-5 hr gs rbi-5 r-2, Angie Gjerke 3-5 r, Skylar Burg 2-5 r-2, Olivia Haines 2-3 rbi-2, Megan Utsch 2-4, Kylee Everson 1-3 rbi r, Lindy Hennen 1-3 r, Gerianna Miller 1-3 rbi r, Harley Kunstleben 0-0 r-2
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Foley: Gross (L) 2.2-11-11-11-2-1, McKayla Dietl 4.1-3-0-0-2-1 ... Paynesville: Schaefer (W) 7-12-9-4-1-1