BY JASON PEAKE
Shauna Friend was a bit concerned in the moments before her Webb City Cardinals officially began the 2019 prep softball season.
"To be honest, our pregame looked a little shaky," Friend admitted. "I knew we had some nerves going into our opener and I didn't know what to expect."
But those concerns were short-lived.
Ignited by an eruption of offense and capped by a strong finish, Webb City rolled to a 13-3 victory over Monett in five innings on Thursday night at Webb City High School.
Webb City recorded 12 hits, with seven players getting into the act. The Cardinals used a seven-run fifth inning to end the night early.
"Our girls came together, put on a nice attack offensively and that was good to see, especially si ga ca w Wd gi er since it was our first game," Friend said. "They came out and hit the ball well and really executed. We talk about everybody doing their job and the girls did that tonight in every aspect."
The Cubs dropped to 1-2 on the season.
"We didn't execute at the plate and Webb City attacked the ball," first-year Monett coach Jami Bauer said. "Defensively, we struggled fielding bunts. It's early in the season and there are some things we need to work on."
Senior third baseman Karson Culver went 3-for-3
with three RBI and three runs scored, while senior outfielder Keira Jackson went 3-for-4 with two RBI. Junior second baseman Alyssa Jennings contributed two hits, while sophomore shortstop Peyton Hawkins drove in three runs.
Amberlyn Schmidly went 2-for-3 for the Cubs.
Haidyn Berry was the winning pitcher. A junior, Berry allowed three earned runs on six hits while striking out six.
Monett's Caitlyn Calhoun was charged with the loss after she surrendered four earned runs on seven hits in two frames. Kassie McCallister gave up five earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. The Cubs committed five errors.
The visitors pushed across a single tally in the first, as Kaesha George walked and later scored on Abby McCaffrey's bunt single. The Cardinals tied it up in the bottom half on a Taylor Harris bunt.
Calhoun homered to right-center in the second, but the Cubs wouldn't lead for long. The Cardinals scored three runs on four hits and two errors in the second.
Webb City then added two more runs in the third after back-to-back doubles from Kaylyn Gilbert and Culver and a sacrifice fly from Hawkins.
Monett's Schmidly delivered a run-scoring triple in the top of the fifth, but the Cardinals responded with a huge bottom half.
In the final frame, Hawkins drove in a run on a bunt before Lauren Hicks pushed a bunt past the circle, allowing two
runs to score.
Jackson then smacked a two-run double to left before Culver's two-RBI singled ended the night.
"It was exciting to see us have a big inning like that," Friend said. "Overall, tonight was a good start to the season for sure."
Webb City (1-0) will competed at Paige Neal/Christina Freeman Tournament this weekend.
Joplin Globe 09/06/2019 (Used by permission)