ANDERSON — All good things must come to an end.

In a game that featured two pitchers putting on a clinic for a packed crowd at McDonald County High School, Monett's Allie Krueger and McDonald County's Kali Hodson matched each other pitch for pitch for seven innings, but in the end the Lady Cubs benefited from an error and a double by Kelsey Wiseman as they plated three runs in the top of the sixth inning and held on to win 3-0.

The loss was the first of the season for the Lady Mustangs, dropping them to 21-1 overall. Even worse, it came on senior night.

"(Krueger) did an excellent job," Lady Mustangs coach Tray Shaddox said. "And you know, I thought Kali really threw well, too. That's just part of the game. When you play good teams you just can't afford to give them extra outs."
Monett's rally began with two outs in the sixth. With Hodson holding a no-hitter through 52/3 innings, Monett's Taylor Rhea spoiled the bid when she poked a single into left field. Krueger followed with a slow grounder to third that should have ended the inning, but a wild throw to first allowed runners to move up to second and third. Ashton Ratliff then poked a single into left to score Rhea to make it 1-0. Ratliff later stole second before Kelsey Wiseman doubled down the line in left to score both runners to make it 3-0.

Krueger handled things from there. She allowed only two hits in the game, singles to Courtni Smith and Coley Ickes, and finished with five strikeouts and two walks. Hodson was saddled with the loss as she allowed three unearned runs with seven strikeouts and no walks.

"We knew (the Lady Cubs) were a good team coming in here, so we were expecting a tough game," Shaddox said. "I told the girls after the game that this is the type of competition that we're going to see when we get to district, and, hopefully, beyond. You can't take anything away from Monett, because (they) really played well."

Shaddox chose to take the loss in a positive light. Now, he said, his team knows they can be beaten, and hopefully this will be a reminder of their mortality as they enter districts next week.

"I wouldn't ever say that we were overconfident," Shaddox said. "We knew what kind of team they had. But at the same time, I did tell (our team) that we were going to get over it, move on, but that we were going to remember the feeling. The girls took it tough. They're a very competitive group.

"It was painful, but, hopefully, it will give them the extra incentive to play their hardest every time we go out."

McDonald County won the B game, 6-3. The Lady Mustangs travel to Republic for a 5 p.m. showdown on Thursday.