PARK HILLS – The Potosi softball program spent 15 years trying to chase down superior Central squads when both schools played a fall schedule as conference foes.
The Lady Trojans have since established a new identity and higher level of confidence, as evidenced by their steady offensive attack on Monday.
Potosi gained an early inside track to the spring MAAA regular-season title with a 9-1 victory over the Lady Rebels while producing 15 combined hits from eight players.
Freshman pitcher Sami Huck arguably passed her toughest high school challenge so far in style, and was a crucial catalyst at the plate by going 4-for-5 with three RBI.
Sophomore Sydney Litton homered while shortstop and leadoff batter Kennedy Coleman finished 3-for-5 with two runs scored for Potosi (6-0, 3-0).
Central (4-4, 2-1) stranded five runners in scoring position as clutch swings proved elusive against Huck, who compiled eight strikeouts and scattered six hits in the complete game.
Five starters from last year’s state runner-up squad left vacancies for the Lady Rebels to fill, including injured senior Kimmy Wallen, who starred as pitcher and fast leadoff hitter.
Freshman Allie Kelly occupied the circle against Potosi, and yielded six hits over three innings while fanning three. She was immediately greeted by a Coleman double.
Huck followed with an RBI single to left-center, and Emma Eaton drove her in with an opposite-field, two-out single for a quick 2-0 advantage.
Catie Mosier matched No. 9 batter Chelsea Charboneau with two hits apiece at the bottom of the Lady Trojans’ order, but Kelly worked around her double in the second.
Litton hammered a long two-run shot to left-center after Jaci Short singled in the third, and that 4-0 advantage provided all the support that Huck needed.
Central prevented a much larger third frame from developing though stellar defense. After shortstop Jessica Hulsey threw out a batter from deep in the hole, left fielder Taylor Marler made a tremendous running catch to rob Hannah Jarvis of a home run while crashing over the flexible fence.
Aubree Eaton highlighted a 2-for-3 game with a leadoff triple in the bottom of the third, but Huck came back with a key strikeout and emerged unscathed as second baseman Kylee Price gloved a soft liner.
Huck used two strikeouts to get through the fourth after Maddie Manion coaxed a leadoff walk. Potosi turned a pair of subsequent double plays when Huck and Price snared line drives along the infield.
Potosi added two runs in the fifth after two fielder’s choice ground balls to third base yielded no outs. An ensuing dropped throw enhanced the rally, and Jarvis made it 6-0 with another ground out.
Central delivered its lone scoring punch in the fifth as Hulsey, Marler and Kelly collected consecutive two-out singles. Kelly won an eight-pitch battle for her RBI.
Charboneau and Coleman singled and scored together in the Potosi sixth when Huck ripped a single to right-center. Jarvis crossed the dish in the seventh when Coleman legged out an infield hit.
Central third baseman Abbie Mendenhall and second baseball Abby Holmes each made solid stops to their left to back Coppedge in the fourth.
The Lady Trojans have scored at least nine runs in each of their first six contests.