OZARK — The Neosho Lady Wildcats broke on through with four runs for a 4-0 lead in the third inning and led 4-2 entering the bottom of the seventh in their Central Ozark Conference clash Thursday against the Ozark Lady Tigers.
Ozark scored three runs for the 5-4 win and the winning two came on the fourth and most costly Neosho error of the contest.
This was a game in which Neosho outhit Ozark 9-7 overall and starting pitcher Kyla Daspit performed more than well enough to win.
However, defensive miscues and seven runners left behind ultimately cost Neosho and the Lady Wildcats dropped to 5-6 overall and 1-3 COC.
Two of Neosho’s three losses in conference play have come by a single run, with a 3-2 loss against Willard the earlier heartbreaking score for the Lady Wildcats.
Neosho’s four-run inning began with an Amber Shepeard single through the infield and into center, then Lili Graue and Kaitlyn Killion — Neosho’s freshmen who bat 1-2 at the top of the order — helped produce a 2-0 lead after consecutive singles.
During Graue’s at-bat, Shepeard stole second and then Graue’s bunt single produced runners at the corners and no outs for the Lady Wildcats.
Graue stole second on the first pitch to Killion and that set up the perfect scenario for when Killion singled, since both Shepeard and Graue crossed home plate.
Neosho third baseman Mikayla Long closed out the scoring in the inning with a two-run home run.
Killion and Taylor Baker each led Neosho’s hit parade with two each, while Graue, Long, Kayla Bach, Sierra Jones, and Shepeard rounded it out with one each. Killion and Long each drove in two runs.
Daspit took the loss with five runs allowed (two earned) on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings and she struck out one and walked two.
Neosho returns to action Tuesday at home against conference and district rival Carthage. The Lady Wildcats played three straight road games, culminating against Ozark with a 1-2 record and both losses coming by a single run, including a 3-2 loss to McDonald County.