As the season winds down for the Neosho girls softball team, seniors Hailey Geller and Morgan Rathmann are winding up.

As the season winds down for the Neosho girls softball team, seniors Hailey Geller and Morgan Rathmann are winding up.

After leading the Lady Wildcats to victory on Tuesday, Geller and Rathmann helped make it two in a row on Thursday as Neosho downed Carl Junction 4-2 in a nonconference softball game at Crowder College.

When the going got tough, Geller got going on the mound. Her Houdini-like escapes in each of the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings were nothing short of stellar.

Let’s reset.

With Neosho leading 2-0 in the top of the fourth, Tasha Steele led off the frame with a double to left field. She would later steal third base, and a hit batter put runners on the corners with one out. But Geller would get the next two batters to pop out and preserve the 2-0 lead.

Things got even more interesting in the fifth inning when the Lady Bulldogs loaded the bases on a single and two walks with nobody out. But Geller promptly forced the next two hitters to pop it up on the infield before a grounder to short forced out the final run at third base. She escaped, again, unscathed.

The Lady Bulldogs threatened with runners at second and third with one out in the sixth before Geller caught a pop up and snagged a grounder back at her to record the final two outs herself. Carl Junction finally scored a pair of runs in the seventh, but the Wildcats would strand the tying run at first base to end the game.

“We just kept our heads up and the defense made all the routine plays,” Geller said. “I just threw like I do at practice.”
Those big pitches meant nothing without good defense, of course. Neosho was nearly flawless. The Wildcats’ only error came in the seventh inning.

Rathmann, meanwhile, was the leader of the offense. Batting leadoff, Rathmann, who sparked Tuesday’s win with a leadoff inside-the-park home run, went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and set the table for the underclassmen.
“It’s not just one person on the team,” Neosho coach Melissa Clark said. “It’s everybody.”

At the other end of the spectrum was sophomore Emily Harrell. Batting ninth in the order, Harrell did her best Rathmann impression in going 3-for-3 with a triple and a run scored. Her one out single in the bottom of the sixth set the table for Neosho’s final push.

After Harrell reached first on a bunt single, Rathmann singled to center and the ball was misplayed, allowing Harrell to score and Rathmann to cruise into third. Danielle Forkner then singled to left to bring Rathmann home with the final run.

Forkner had two hits and scored a run in the first inning. Kenzie Potter drove in both runs with a double to center in the first.

“The girls have always said that no matter how the season is going we’re fighting for one thing at the end of the year come district time,” Clark said. “As we’re nearing the end of our season and getting into starting districts, the focus on our team has definitely changed. This is now two (wins) in a row (and) we have that taste of the winning. We like that feeling.”

Lady Wildcats now get set for play in the Class 4, District 12 Tournament. They’ll begin play against Republic on Friday in Carthage. The winner moves on to face Webb City on Saturday.

Neosho is the No. 6 seed.