SALISBURY, Mo. -- The Canton softball team sealed its third trip to the Class 1 state tournament Saturday with a 6-3 victory over Salisbury.
The previous two times the Tigers never made it to the second day of the tournament.
In 2014, Canton lost to Jefferson Conception in the semifinals, but beat Salisbury in the third-place game.
The following year, Canton again fell in the state semifinals, this time to Norborne, and settled for fourth place after losing to Chaffee.
Canton lost to the eventual state champs in both previous trips to state.
This year's team wants to change that and be the state champs.
"There's a lot of talent on this team," said pitcher Olivia Jarvis, who's making her third trip to state in her career. "We have good hitters, good defense. We have a good coach that helps us get better every day."
The coaches haven't been consistent in that four-year span, either. Logan Stapp coached the team in 2014, and Kirsten Johnston coached the Tigers from 2015-16. Jonathan Bastian took over the team this season.
"I think it's a mixture of the talent and the drive to do well and not give up," Jarvis said. "The coaching we've had has been great, too."
But just because Canton has the experience doesn't guarantee a better result.
"I think there will be excitement going back and that's huge," Bastian said. "But there's going to be tough teams at state. We can't just show up."
Sizing up the other semifinalists
Two other teams punched their tickets to the Class 1 state tournament Saturday.
Pilot Grove beat Clopton 2-1, and Chaffee beat Halfway 15-0.
Pilot Grove and Canton have recent history, Canton won a quarterfinal matchup two seasons ago. Pilot Grove also has a similar opponent to Canton this season.
On Aug. 24, Pilot Grove lost to Salisbury 10-0. Canton beat Salisbury 6-3 to clinch its state berth.
Chaffee has no similar opponents to Canton, however, the two teams played in the third-place game in 2015. Chaffee won 6-4.
The other quarterfinal between North Harrison and Maysville to determine Canton's semifinal matchup will be played Monday.
North Harrison has one similar opponent to Canton as it beat Gallatin 11-1 on Aug. 26. Canton beat Gallatin 17-6 in the sectional round Wednesday.
Maysville also played Gallatin on Sept. 5, and beat the Bulldogs 14-4.