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Lady Cats reach elusive goal, capture first district title

DESLOGE – Despite enjoying several moments of success during their brief four-year softball history, the Fredericktown Lady Cats have endured the exasperation of finishing second in nearly every tournament which they have participated in.

On Thursday at Brightwell Park, the Lady Cats shed that frustrating distinction by earning their biggest win to date.

A sudden offensive outburst in the fifth inning was more than enough support for senior pitcher Jenni Kemp, as Fredericktown nailed down its first-ever district title with a 4-1 triumph over De Soto in a rematch of last year’s Class 3, District 1 final.

The Lady Cats (15-7) will play the winner of District 2 action, which concludes on Saturday in Festus. Notre Dame is the top seed and defending champion.

&#8221Our goal at the beginning of this season was to win this district, and we knew that the road went through De Soto,“ said Fredericktown coach Eric Newell. &#8221The girls stepped up to the challenge and got the job done.“

Kemp fell behind after giving up her only two hits of the contest in the first inning, but was outstanding over the remainder of the evening with six strikeouts, retiring 18 of the last 19 batters she faced.

&#8221Jenni made big pitches when she had to. She has been doing it all year for us,“ added Newell.

The bottom of the Fredericktown batting order ignited the game-changing rally in the fifth, as Laura Mooney bunted for a single and Tasha Moore reached on a shallow fly ball that popped out of the left fielder’s glove.

De Soto starter Kaitlyn Hasty was lifted in favor of reliever Torrie Yeast, who notched a big strikeout following a critical passed ball. With first base open, the Lady Dragons elected to intentionally walk Amy Hendrix, who was already 2-for-2 in the game.

That decision backfired for De Soto (18-5) when a line drive by sophomore Johnna Tinnin landed just inches inside the right-field line for a two-run double to put the Lady Cats on top. Hendrix alertly raced home on a wild pitch to make it 3-1, and Lindsay Wagganer drove in an important insurance run with an opposite-field RBI hit to right.

Kemp made sure that the lead would up with the assistance of her defense by tossing a perfect sixth and seventh, ending the game in grand fashion with a strikeout. The Lady Cats did not commit an error in the game.

&#8221This win is very rewarding for all of us,“ said Newell. &#8221In my room at school we have about seven second-place trophies from past tournaments. It was worth all of that to finally get this one.“

The Lady Dragons struck quickly in the first inning when shortstop Evelyn Drummond smashed a long triple to right field with one out. Following a strikeout, Carolyn Oquendo delivered a RBI single into center to make it 1-0.

Hasty allowed four hits over four and one-third innings with four strikeouts in defeat for De Soto. Neither of the two runs scored against her were earned.

Tricia Ward added a bunt single for Fredericktown in the second inning.

De Soto 100 000 0 – 1 2 1

Fredericktown 000 040 x – 4 6 0

WP – Kemp 7i 1r 2h 6k 1bb.

LP – Hasty 4 1/3i 2r 0er 4h 4k 0bb.

Hitting:

De Soto – Drummond, C Oquendo. 3b – Drummond.

Fredericktown – Hendrix 2, Tinnin, Wagganer, Ward, Moore. 2b – Tinnin.

Semi-final Games

Fredericktown 4, Central 0

Fredericktown advanced to the district championship game with a 4-0 victory over conference-rival Central during semi-final action on Thursday, scoring three runs in the fifth inning to break open a close battle.

Jenni Kemp dominated the Lady Rebels in a three-hit shutout, striking out 11 batters while walking just one. She worked much of the contest with the lead after Amy Hendrix tripled and scored on a ground out by Johnna Tinnin in the first inning.

Central hurler Amber Kennedy finished the game with three strikeouts, and managed to keep the Lady Cats in check until the fifth. Second baseman Kayla Usher turned in a defensive gem with a diving stop to her right in the fourth, which preceded a bunt single by Tricia Ward.

Clutch hitting with two outs sparked the Fredericktown pull-away. Tinnin lined a RBI triple past the right fielder to make it 2-0, and scored on a double by Lindsay Wagganer. Kemp followed with a RBI single up the middle to cap the scoring.

After losing the potential tying run at third base to end the top of the third inning, Central (10-16) mounted its most dangerous rally in the sixth. Kennedy led off by reaching on an error and Usher hustled out an infield single. A two-out walk to Megan Keller loaded the bases, but a ground out ended the threat.

Hendrix finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored to lead the Lady Cats. Usher was 2-for-3 and Kayla Mabery added a single for Central.

Central 000 000 0 – 0 3 2

Fredericktown 100 030 x – 4 7 2

WP – Kemp 7i 0r 3h 11k 1bb.

LP – Kennedy 6i 4r 7h 3k 1bb.

Hitting:

Central – Usher 2, K Mabery.

Fredericktown – Hendrix 2, Tinnin, Wagganer, Kemp, Ward. 3b – Hendrix, Tinnin. 2b – Wagganer.

De Soto 7, Potosi 1

De Soto ended the season for the Potosi Lady Trojans in the other semi-final game, capitalizing on three crucial errors to build an early cushion before holding on for a 7-1 win.

Potosi (12-12) scored its lone tally in the seventh on a string of two-out singles. Hannah Fritsche, Amanda Boyer and Victoria Blair all collected hits to fill the bases, and freshman Tiffany Evans looped a RBI single to left. The game ended on a runner’s interference call following a collision between second and third.

Robyn Pashia gave up only one earned run on nine hits with one strikeout in the loss for Potosi. Pashia and Brittany Chazelle also had singles.

Potosi 000 000 1 – 1 6 3

De Soto 311 011 x – 7 9 0

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