REPUBLIC — The Neosho Lady Wildcats at least went down swinging during their 12-5 loss Thursday to the Republic Lady Tigers in Central Ozark Conference Large softball.

Kaylee Johnson and Kaitlyn Hawkins, in fact, blasted home runs off Republic pitcher Avery Romans, thumbs up for Johnson and Hawkins.

Taylor Baker and Mikayla Long, coming off her four RBI performance Tuesday against Nixa, each doubled among Neosho's nine-hit attack.

In past seasons, this might have been a lower-scoring pitchers' duel. Like, for example, last season's Class 4, District 12 semifinal with Neosho's Cloe Neece and Republic's Rachel Rook facing off in the circle. Neece and Rook both graduated and both signed with colleges, Neece with Crowder and Rook with Southeast Missouri.

Kyla Daspit took the loss for Neosho, allowing 12 runs (nine earned) on 17 hits over six innings. Daspit struck out none and walked just one with 58 of her 88 pitches against 38 batters faced good for strikes.

Megan Thorne homered for Republic, while Ally Stolte doubled twice and A.J. Fenske added another double. Liv Collier drove in three runs, while Stolte and Thorne each brought in two. Kaitlyn Ragsdale led all players with four hits.

Baker led Neosho with three hits, while Long had a pair of hits and RBI and Johnson had two RBI. Hawkins crossed home plate twice, while Baker, Long, and Johnson each once.

Republic scored a consistent amount of runs in the first five frames, two in the first, three in both the second and third, one in the fourth, and three in the fifth. Neosho scored one in the third and four in the fifth. Neither team scored in the sixth and seventh.

Neosho took a 5-1 deficit in the third on Hawkins' solo homer to center field. The Lady Wildcats made it a 9-5 score after Long's two-run double and Johnson's two-run homer in consecutive at-bats.

Neosho, 6-8 overall and 2-4 COC Large, returned to action Friday and Saturday in the Adair Tournament.