NIXA, Mo. — The Joplin softball team's season ended abruptly in a 6-4 setback to Republic in a Class 6 District 6 quarterfinal matchup on Tuesday night in Nixa.
The Eagles (16-14) posted their first winning season since the 2015 campaign that saw Joplin make a Final Four run.
After taking a 4-2 lead in the top of the fifth, the Tigers (16-9-1) answered with a four-run sixth.
Jenna Belcher made the score 4-3 with a two-run double for Republic, while Jaci West tied it with an RBI fielder's choice. Emi Essary delivered the deciding hit with a two-run single to hand the Tigers the lead for good.
Joplin drew first blood in the contest when Izzy Yust and Abi Lowery collected back-to-back RBI singles in the first. Then in the bottom half of the frame, Republic responded when Belcher came through with a solo home run to slice the deficit in half.
The Tigers knotted the score at two-all after an RBI single from Meagan Heavin in the third. But the Eagles' took a two-run lead in the fifth when Maria Loum scored on a fielding error and Jadyn Pankow came through with a sacrifice fly.
Republic rapped eight hits in the contest and were paced by Mara Lakey's three hits. She went the distance in the circle, allowing four runs (two earned) on nine hits while striking out three and walking four.
Joplin totaled nine hits as a team. Bailey Ledford and Lowery had two hits apiece. Jill McDaniel suffered the loss for the Eagles. In six innings, she gave up six runs (two earned) on eight hits and struck out batters.
With the win, Republic advances to face Ozark at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the semifinals.