CASSVILLE — The Neosho Lady Wildcats opened their season with a 14-6 win Monday over the Cassville Lady Wildcats.
Cassville defeated Neosho 11-0 in last season’s opener and the first inning gave the wrong impression that it would be deja vu all over again in the duel of the Wildcats.
Cassville took a 3-0 lead Monday after one inning, thanks to retiring Neosho in order in the top half and then benefiting from a Lauren Turner leadoff double, an Emily Mann RBI single, a Hallie Walker RBI double, and a Belle Edwards RBI single in the bottom half.
Neosho pitcher Kyla Daspit worked her way through the first with three strikeouts, a sign of things to come for both Daspit and Neosho, as well as Cassville.
Cassville scored three runs in the first and three more in the sixth, but otherwise Neosho handled Cassville with 1-2-3 innings in the third, fourth, fifth, and seventh.
Daspit struck out two in the second, two in the third, two in the fourth, two in the fifth, one in the sixth, and one in the seventh en route to 13 strikeouts. Not a bad start to the season.
Offensively, Neosho cut the deficit to one with two in the second. Taylor Baker singled, advanced to third on a Mikayla Long single, and scored on a wild pitch. Long advanced two bases on the wild pitch and error, and scored that second run on a Sierra Jones sacrifice fly.
In her second varsity at-bat, Neosho’s fleet of foot leadoff Lily Graue reached on a bunt single to start the third, stole second, advanced to third on Amber Shepeard’s fundamentally sound 4-3 groundout, and scored on a Baker double for a 3-all score.
Jones picked up her second and third RBI of the contest for a 5-3 lead, as her double brought home Baker and Long.
The Lady Wildcats led 5-3 after three and built that advantage to 8-3 entering the bottom of the sixth after three runs in the sixth. Jones collected her fourth RBI with a single bringing home Long and the Lady Wildcats scored two more runs on a combination wild pitch and Cassville error.
After Cassville made it a 8-6 game, Neosho delivered six insurance runs in the seventh, answering the bell offensively after a difficult bottom of the sixth defensively with three errors.
Neosho picked up RBI singles from Long and Bre Slavens for a 11-6 lead and with two outs, Neosho scored three more on a two-run error in left field and a Kaitlyn Killion RBI single.
Neosho, 1-0, returns to action Friday and Saturday in the 14th annual Paige Neal/Christina Freeman Tournament hosted by Joplin.