MONETT, Mo — Postseason play for high school softball teams in Southwest Missouri opened Tuesday, and there was plenty of action in Monett.
Fifth-seeded Glendale had the lone upset, knocking off fourth-seeded Monett. The top three seeds — Webb City, McDonald County and Neosho — also advanced to Thursday's semifinals.
Webb City plays Glendale in the first semifinal at 4:30 p.m., and McDonald County faces Neosho at 6.
Cardinals run-rule Parkview
Webb City has perhaps the most prolific offense in Southwest Missouri, and the bats were certainly rattling against Parkview.
In a three-inning game that saw the Cardinals use all of their 19 players, Webb City scored 13 runs in the first inning en route to a 19-0 run-rule victory over the Vikings. The Cardinals (23-5) snapped a three-game losing streak.
“The girls did a good job playing their game and staying focused,” Webb City coach Shauna Friend said. “They played good defense and stayed patient at the plate. It was really good to get all of our players in the game. We had a lot of good things happen.”
Two-way standout Haidyn Berry set the tone early for the Cardinals. The right-hander hurled an immaculate first inning, striking out the side on nine pitches.
In the bottom of the inning, No. 3 hitter Emma Welch got the Cardinals on the board with an RBI double after drilling a ball to deep left field that carried all the way to the fence. Two batters later, Emma Welch's long three-run home run to right-center field extended the lead to 4-0.
The Cardinals added nine more runs in the first inning and capped the offensive explosion with six more runs in the second, highlighted by a three-run home run from freshman Dawsyn Decker. That homer was No. 43 for the Cardinals this season, moving them in front of Oakville (2008) for the third-most long balls in a season in state history.
“It’s awesome because we spend hours of the day hitting and getting better,” Berry said. “It’s really neat a freshman can come out and do it. Top to bottom in this lineup, we are clutch, and we are just chugging along.”
McDonald County holds off Carl Junction
Anything can happen when you get to the playoffs, and Carl Junction (7-16) nearly pulled off the upset against favored McDonald County (20-3).
In fact, the Bulldogs put the tying run in scoring position with one out in the seventh, but the Mustangs’ Madeline McCall put out the fire with a riseball up in the zone to punch out Carl Junction’s Saedra Allen to end the game and seal the 2-1 victory.
“Our group is a bunch of competitors, and they just don’t want to give in,” McDonald County coach Heath Alumbaugh said. “They said it in their mind, ‘We want to be here all week.’ And we told them: ‘It's a three-step ladder and you have to take it one at a time.’ Hats off to Carl Junction. They did everything they could to make it a tight ballgame."
Deadlocked at 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth, McDonald County’s Carlee Cooper got the late rally started with a bunt single. Freshman Katelynn Townsend dropped another bunt, and after two errors, Cooper came around to score with the game-winning run.
Alexa Hopkins got the start for the Mustangs and hurled five innings. She gave up one run on five hits. McCall picked up the win after tossing two scoreless innings.
Cooper collected two of McDonald County’s three hits, including a triple. For Carl Junction, Allen gave up two runs (zero earned) on three hits over six innings. Allen, Sammie Sims, Allison Plumlee, Izzie Southern and Jayden Green had one hit apiece.
Bulldogs coach Zak Petty said he’s proud of his team’s effort to hang tough with the top Class 4 teams in the state.
“We felt coming in that we were going to give them a run, and that’s all you can ask for, especially at the end of the game,” Petty said. “It was a fun game. Obviously, the outcome is not what you like, but we feel happy about how we competed. We will miss our seniors a lot. They set a tone for the underclassmen that we feel really great about.”
Neosho rolls over Branson
Neosho (15-7) and Branson traded a pair of runs early, but after the top of the third, the Wildcats plated 11 runs in the third and fourth innings en route to a 13-2 win.
“I think we settled in, and we talked that in the postseason, you know, if you lose you’re done,” Neosho coach Catie Cummins said. “Scoring those five runs after they tied it up was huge because that said, ‘Nah, nah. We got the game. We have control. We are not letting you back in it.’ We kind of just put our foot down.”
In her first career postseason start, Neosho pitcher Brittany Winchester earned the win after tossing five solid innings. The righty gave up two earned runs on four hits and struck out two batters.
“I thought she did a great job,” Cummins said. “Her changeup looked really nice. She was working the corners, and everything she was throwing was close to the zone. With the exception of the home run, I don’t think she left any balls over the plate. When she settled in, she was nails.”
Lili Graue led Neosho with three hits and three RBI, including a two-run single in the bottom of the fourth. Leadoff hitter Kaitlyn Killion finished with two hits and two RBI while McKaylie Forrest and Baylie Bowers added run-scoring doubles.
Glendale knocks off Monett
On Field 5, fifth-seeded Glendale, which prides itself on a small-ball game, knocked off fourth-seeded Monett 8-1 behind pitcher Anna Baker.
Baker held the Cubs to just four hits, and the Falcons cashed in on Monett’s four errors. The Cubs finish with a 12-13 record.
“They executed well on the short game,” Monett coach Jami Bauer said. “We didn’t play well on that. We didn’t necessarily know what we were going to do with the bunt once we got it. That is some of the small stuff we have been dealing with all season, and it just came out and got us.”
Glendale jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning after Alli Norris scored from third on a wild pitch and Emily Phillips hit an RBI force out. The Falcons then pulled out the small ball with Kayla Craft following with a squeeze bunt to plate Phillips.
After advancing to third on a defensive indifference, Craft scored to give Glendale a 4-0 advantage.
Caitlyn Calhoun was a hard-luck loser for Monett. She pitched seven innings and allowed eight runs (two earned) on six hits. Kailyn Cendroski grounded into a forceout to score the Cubs' run.