Kelsy Reynolds and Courtni Smith were nothing short of clutch for the McDonald County Lady Mustangs on Saturday as they defeated Webb City 4-0 in a semifinal game and Columbia-Rock Bridge 2-1 in the championship game of the Paige Neal/Christina Freeman Tournament at the Joplin Athletic Complex.
Saturday’s wins capped a perfect 5-0 weekend for the Lady Mustangs. Their overall record now sits at 6-0.
In the championship game, Rock Bridge took a 1-0 lead into the third inning before Smith doubled, advanced to third with one out and came home to tie it when Reynolds smacked a single to make it 1-1. Smith again sat the table in the fifth when she singled, stole second and scored on Reynolds’ second single of the game.
Those were all the runs Lady Mustangs starter Kali Hodson would need as she scattered six hits on a walk and two strikeouts. Hodson was extremely efficient in keeping the ball down in the zone as she coaxed Rock Bridge into 14 groundouts, including seven to shortstop Stormi Christerson and six to third baseman Macie Jones.
“Kali just did an outstanding job of keeping the ball down,” Lady Mustangs coach Tray Shaddox said. “They’re a good hitting team and she worked the ball down and trusted her defense. The girls played great defense behind her all day and had some timely hits. Stormi Christerson made a couple of defensive gems in both games and Macie Jones played outstanding at third base, as well. Our defense was outstanding all the way around.”
The Lady Mustangs defeated Webb City 4-0 a semifinal game Saturday morning.
Hodson also started that one and whirled the shutout on eight hits and two walks as the defense again turned in a flawless effort behind her. Keeping with the trends of the day, Reynolds had another clutch hit as she pounded a three-run home run in the top of the third to score Smith and Ashton Harmon to make it 3-0. Hodson later added an RBI single in the seventh.
Hodson had three hits in the game and Reynolds added two while Cloey Ickes contributed a ground rule double.
On Friday the Lady Mustangs defeated Carthage 4-3 in an extra-innings nail-biter.
Trailing 2-1 going into the seventh, Smith reach on a single, stole second, advanced to third on a wild throw and then scored on another wild throw to third to tie the game. Carthage went on to score a run in the top of the eighth to take a 3-2 lead, but the Lady Mustangs scored the tying run when Ickes drove in Jones with a single, and then the winning run when Rachel Brown grounded out to score Jones.
They later went on to win laughers against Nevada (14-4) and Park Hill South (7-2) to advance to the semifinals.
Page 2 of 2 - “This is a great start to the season, and I really feel like maybe this is going to be a spark to bigger and better things for us,” Shaddox said. “I told (the girls) not to let this be the highlight of the season, to just keep it going. I think they’re feeling pretty good about themselves.”
The Lady Mustangs are back in action at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Carthage.