By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
The Pierce City softball team, coming off a third straight district championship, visits Lamar on Wednesday for a sectional game in the Class 1 playoffs.
Game time is 4:30 p.m. at Lamar City Park.
Pierce City, in its first season under Kacy Gunnels, is a member of the Spring River Valley Conference and has an 18-6 record. The Eagles lost to champion College Heights Christian and Sarcoxie in the SRVC.
Tim Timmons is in his fourth season as the Lamar head coach. The Tigers, who belong to the Big 8 Conference, are 18-4 overall and absorbed 1-0 league losses to champion Monett and Carl Junction.
Gunnels, a product of Wheaton High School, Crowder College and Missouri Southern, is assisted by Rob Guerin. Timmons, a graduate of Lamar and Missouri Southern, is assisted by Tanina Torbeck.
Pierce City and Lamar are meeting for the first time this season.
Said Timmons: “We’ve heard good things about Pierce City.
“We just need to come out and play our game,” Timmons said. “There are occasions where we’ve struggled. We need to be mentally ready.”
Said Gunnels: “We realize Lamar has a good pitcher in (Emmie) Robertson. We’re still working on a scouting report in regard to their hitting.”
Robertson, a junior right-hander, has all of the Lamar decisions. She’s struck out 276 batters, walked 25 and yielded 80 hits in 49 innings.
Leading hitters for the Tigers are Robertson (.427), senior first sacker Abby Morrow (.387) and junior second baseman Addie Maberry (.363).
Robertson also has five home runs, seven doubles and 22 RBI. Morrow has 13 RBI.
Gunnels, who didn’t have access to actual averages, believes her leading hitters are senior center fielder Emily Ashley, junior right-handed pitcher McKenzie Moreland, sophomore catcher Bailee Hayward and sophomore shortstop Monica Sexton. Gunnels said Moreland has a 15-4 record.
Gunnels, who assisted Darin Henderson with the Eagles in 2011, listed a probable batting order of Hayward, senior second baseman Faith Strong, Ashley, Moreland, junior left fielder Mattie Brottlund, freshman right fielder Jamie Parrigon, sophomore first baseman Becca Morin, sophomore third baseman Brooke Ridenour and Sexton.
The probable Lamar order consists of junior shortstop Taylor Jackson, Robertson, Morrow, senior receiver Lauren Whyman, senior third baseman Brooke McDonald, sophomore center fielder Ryan O’Sullivan, junior right fielder Trinity Cornell or senior Taylor Hardman, sophomore left fielder Baylee Starmer and Maberry.