MONROE CITY, Mo. -- Alana Comstock knew her job when she came on in relief in the fourth inning.
"I just had to come in and help Lauren (VanTress) out," Comstock said.
The Palmyra pitcher did that, and she helped the top-seeded Panthers avoid an upset in a 3-2 victory over fourth-seeded Clark County in the Class 2 District 7 semifinals Thursday. Palmyra (17-8) advances to play second-seeded Highland (18-6) in Saturday's championship game.
Comstock entered the game in the fourth inning with Clark County's Breanna Lee on first base after she was hit by a pitch, and her at-bat came just after Abby Ellison hit a solo home run to trim Palmyra's lead to 3-2.
A sacrifice bunt moved Lee to second base and needing just a base hit to potentially tie the game. Comstock, however, got Isiabell Acklie to lineout to second, and she struck out Abby Brown to get out of the jam.
"She's very mentally tough," Palmyra coach Jill Arch said. "That's why we like to start off with Lauren and bring Alana in. Runners don't bother her, and she's been very successful getting out of jams."
Comstock used that momentum to just allow two hits the rest of the way.
She finished throwing four shut out innings of relief and allowed just one hit while striking out five and walking none.
Palmyra scored all three of its runs in the bottom of the first inning as Bailey Lovelace scored on a wild pitch during Brooke Wilson's at-bat. A groundout by Morgan Ingram on the next at-bat scored Megan Stone to make it 2-0.
Baylee Anderson followed with an RBI single to left field to score courtesy runner Sophie Hoerr for a 3-0 advantage.
It was all the run support the Palmyra pitchers needed, but the Panthers still needed to fend off Clark County (12-13).
Clark County scored its first run in the top of the third inning as Brown led off with a double, and she scored on Karley Kirchner's RBI single to trim the deficit to 3-1. Ellison's solo home run to lead off the fourth trimmed it to 3-2, but Clark County never got any closer.
But that wasn't without drama.
Kirchner was hit by a pitch to lead off the fifth, and Drenda Hess hit an one-out single to put two on. Kirchner was out at third on a ball hit by Abby Boulware, and Ellison's grounder got Hess out at third to end the threat.
Now the attention turns to the district title game.
"Highland is going to put the ball in play and they're going to do a great job," Arch said. "We have to be able to outscore."
VanTress threw three innings, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out five and walking one.
Palmyra had just three hits, as Clark County's Renae Buschling allowed two runs in six innings. She struck out three and walked four.
Palmyra 3, Clark County 2
Clark County 001 100 0--2 4 0
Palmyra 300 000 0--3 3 0
Buschling and Boulware; VanTress, Comstock(3) and Wilson. WP--Comstock. LP--Buschling. 2B--Clark County 1 (Brown). HR--Clark County 1 (Ellison).