By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer
Webb City and McDonald County advanced to the championship game of the Class 4, District 12 softball tournament with semifinal victories Friday at Joplin Athletic Complex.
Webb City scored two runs aided by two errors in the second inning and defeated Republic 4-1. McDonald County slammed 15 hits in a 12-1 victory over Joplin.
McDonald County will face Webb City in the championship game at noon today.
Webb City’s Kaitlin Beason pitched a complete game, allowed four hits, two walks and struck out nine.
“Kaitlin threw a good game,” said Webb City head coach Walter Resa. “And, of course, (Emily) Harris hitting that home run, that always helps for a cushion.
“Defensively, we played very well,” he said. “Their pitcher (Stephanie Eckhoff) did a good job keeping us off-balance.”
Webb City’s two-run second inning was the result of consecutive singles by Morgan Lammey, Harris and Samantha Gilstrap along with two Republic errors.
Republic cut the lead to 2-1 in the fourth inning on a leadoff double by Eckhoff and a one-out, RBI single by Danielle Shelton.
In the bottom of the fourth, Webb City responded with a one-out single by Lammey, who was 2-for-3, before Harris hit a two-run home run over the center-field fence.
Harris, Gilstrap and Asia Bemo each had two hits. Beason struck out five of Republic’s last six batters.
McDonald County’s Sarah Rickman was 4-for-4, including a two-out, two-run home run that capped a five-run third inning. Macey Jones was 3-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBIs.
Mustangs pitcher Kali Hodson limited Joplin to three hits in five innings. She walked none and struck out two.
“We smoked the ball, played great defense and had a great performance out of Kali on the mound,” said McDonald County head coach Tray Shaddox.
McDonald County took a 3-0 lead in the second inning on Sierra Clay’s triple to right-center field that drove in Jones, who had singled, and Randy Davis, who reached on a fielder’s choice. Clay scored on Courtni Smith’s sacrifice fly.
The Mustangs scored two unearned runs in the third inning before Ashton Harmon drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Rickman homered to center field.
Joplin scored in the fourth on a two-out single by Tamarah Mascher that drove in Kenzie Goswick, who had singled.
McDonald County added four runs on five hits in the fourth inning, including an RBI single by Jones and a two-run triple by Whitney Malone.