By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
Mikaela Cox tossed a five-hitter and Ashlie Green delivered a two-run single as the Joplin High School softball team knocked off fourth-seeded Carthage 4-1 on Thursday night in the Class 4 District 12 Tournament.
Neosho caught third-seeded Republic at 7-7 in the top of the fourth inning only to see the Tigers score four times in the bottom of the frame in pulling away for a 17-7, six-inning win in the other first-round game at the Joplin Athletic Center.
Today’s 2 p.m. semifinals are Joplin (11-16) vs. No. 1 seed McDonald County (20-3) and Republic (18-9) vs. second-seeded Webb City (21-4). The championship game is set for noon Saturday.
Carthage and Neosho finished with respective records of 14-13 and 6-20.
Joplin had been a 13-4 loser against Carthage in their previous meeting this season.
But Cox, a freshman right-hander, bested senior right-hander Quincy Charleston in this encounter.
Cox, backed by two outstanding defensive plays by third sacker Kelsey Gould, didn’t walk a batter and struck out three. She was touched for a run in the first inning on Emily Godfrey’s single, a stolen base and Charleston’s double.
Joplin took a 2-1 lead in the third inning with two outs. Courtney Shryock singled and scored on Kristen Tyler’s triple. Gould walked and Tyler scored as Gould was caught in a rundown and remained alive long enough for the run to cross the plate.
Jessica Greninger’s two-out scratch single ignited the Eagles in the fourth inning. Krystal Schulze drew a walk and, after the runners moved up on a wild pitch, Green slammed the two-run single.
Green and Kenzie Goswick had two hits apiece for the Eagles. Godfrey had two hits and two stolen bases for Carthage.
Said Joplin coach Shally Lundien of Cox: “She kept them off balance. Probably a curve was her most effective pitch. This was a total team effort considering our defense, pitching and clutch hitting.”
Said Tiger coach Mike Godfrey: “Cox did a good job of keeping the ball in the strike zone and keeping it away. Our approaches weren’t very good at the plate. We hit a lot of pop flies and fly balls.”
Republic, which has a new coach in Lee Dishman for retiring Mike Thorne, finished with 17 hits, including a three-run home run by Rachael Michaelis.
Catherine Eby, Angel Serles and Abby Jo Norris joined Michaelis with three hits and Emily Hall had a pair. Eby and Michaelis drove in four runs apiece.
Melissa Clark’s Wildcats received a two-run triple from Morgan Rathmann in their three-run fourth inning and later she scored the tying run.
Rathmann finished with four hits and three runs scored. Lindsey Vance added two hits and joined Danielle Forkner and Hailey Geller in rapping doubles.