The Neosho Wildcats felt a bit undervalued when it came time for the district seedings last week. Seeded fifth, coach Donny Pennington said he and his team felt they deserved a better shake.
Perhaps everyone is taking notice now. On Monday the Wildcats knocked off state No. 2 and district No. 1 Carthage 12-6 at the Class 5, District 12 Tournament.
Carthage (21-2) built a 5-0 lead in the third inning before the Wildcats exploded with eight runs in the top of the fourth inning to take the lead. Trey Turner extended that lead with authority in the sixth when he connected on a grand-slam home run to make it 12-6.
Not only did Turner finish with the one hit and four RBIs, but the junior also earned the victory on the hill after throwing the final four innings. Kyler Finley and Lane Brodie also split time on the bump.
Tyler Johnson paced the Wildcats with three hits for the second consecutive game. Kody Kelly had two hits.
“I felt like we can compete with anyone,” Pennington said. “We’ve been in four tournaments, four finals. I think the boys just fight. They know what a tournament means and they just come to play.”
Neosho (15-8) takes on Willard (18-6) for the title today at 6 p.m. at Willard High School.