The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

September 1, 2013

Mustangs edge Rock Bridge for tourney title

Kelsy Reynolds drove in the go-ahead run with a fifth-inning single as McDonald County defeated Columbia Rock Bridge 2-1 Saturday for the championship of the Paige Neal/Christina Freeman Softball Tournament at Gene Bassman Softball Complex.

Reynolds, a senior second baseman, capped a 5-for-7 day by grounding a single into center field that scored Courtni Smith, who hit a one-out single and stole second base.

Right-hander Kali Hodson, who shut out Webb City 4-0 in the semifinals, allowed six hits — all singles — against Rock Bridge.

“Usually, I just try to hit the zone and hit my spots with my dropball,” said Hodson, who walked one and struck out two. “That last game, I really was just trying to keep the ball low.”

The strategy produced 16 groundball outs against the Bruins, who scored an unearned run in the first inning on a throwing error. Rock Bridge had at least one baserunner in every inning except the second.

“It’s a big deal for us (to win the tournament), especially our seven seniors,” Hodson said. “Just playing Webb, they put up a good fight and Rock Bridge always puts up a good fight.

“I’m really proud of my team and thankful for our coaches,” she said. “I’m blessed to be part of this program.”

McDonald County began the tournament Friday by defeating Carthage 4-3 in eight innings.

“After that, we settled in and played awesome,” said Mustangs head coach Tray Shaddox. “We had two great games out of Kali, good defense, and it was just a great team win.”

McDonald County tied the score in the third inning when Reynolds grounded a single into right field that scored Smith, who led off the inning with a double.

In the semifinals, Reynolds ended Webb City’s championship hopes with a three-run home run in the third inning. Smith and Ashton Harmon hit one-out singles before Reynolds’ blast to left-center field.

The Mustangs added a run in the seventh inning when Reynolds singled, advanced to second on Macie Jones’ sacrifice and scored when Hodson grounded a single up the middle.

“That’s always a big win, beating good teams,” Shaddox said. “With Rock Bridge and Blue Springs, we knew we were going to have to play our best softball.”

Webb City left seven runners on base and had runners in scoring position in four innings.

“McDonald County took advantage of timely hits and that’s what this game is about,” said Webb City head coach Walter Resa. “Plus, they made a couple of great defensive plays and took a hit or two away from us.”

In the fourth inning, Mustangs shortstop Stormy Christerson made a back-handed stop and threw out Webb City’s Samantha Gilstrap at first base.

“She is probably the best defensive shortstop in southwest Missouri,” Shaddox said. “That’s a play we expect her to make because she makes it all the time.”

In the other semifinal, Rock Bridge’s Callie Sapp hit a three-run home run in the third inning of a 3-1 victory against Blue Springs. Rock Bridge pitcher Breanna Logan allowed four hits, including a fourth-inning solo home run by Darian Frost.

Blue Springs went on to capture third place by defeating Webb City 13-1. Brittani Reid hit a three-run home run for Blue Springs in the third inning.

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