SARCOXIE — Diamond’s Madi Bentley and Sarcoxie’s Peyton Kisling dueled Thursday, and Bentley and the Lady Wildcats came away with a 3-2 victory.
Bentley allowed two runs (both earned) on five hits with 13 strikeouts and no walks over seven innings. She finished at 105 pitches, 70 for strikes.
Kisling allowed three runs (all earned) on six hits with 12 strikeouts and three walks over seven innings. Three walks caused Kisling’s pitch count to rise to 116 and she threw 76 strikes.
Alyssa Wright and Elle Hall each led Diamond with two hits and Lauryn Macy and Lexi Bridges rounded out the six-hit attack with one each. Wright, Bentley, and Bridges scored Diamond’s runs and Bridges and Hall each picked up RBI.
Diamond built a 3-0 lead thanks to a run in the fifth and two in the sixth. Sarcoxie plated both runs in the seventh to make it a very dramatic finish.
Hall connected on a single to open the scoring, as she made Kisling pay for a leadoff walk to Bridges, who fell behind 1-2 in the count before taking three consecutive balls. Hall would later be thrown out at home on a Macy double.
Bentley and Wright executed a double steal to bring home Wright and then Bridges’ single drove in Bentley for a 3-0 lead. Wright led off the sixth with a single and Bentley worked a walk.
The Lady Bears collected three of their five hits during their last chance against Bentley, including a two-run single by Reese Clifton.
The Lady Wildcats ran their record to 11-7 overall entering their game Monday against former Spring River Valley Conference rival Liberal.
Sarcoxie is the host of the upcoming Class 1, District 11 tournament and Diamond and Sarcoxie are joined in the eight school field by Ash Grove, College Heights, Miller, Mount Vernon, Pierce City, and Verona. Mount Vernon won a spring softball state title in 2016, led by outstanding pitcher Maddie Brown, who played two seasons at Crowder and now plies her skills at NAIA Ottawa in Kansas.