FREDERICKTOWN – A clear edge in defensive execution helped the Fredericktown softball team protect a reduced lead and win its home opener on Monday.
Senior catcher Abigail Kinkead was involved in cutting down two advancing runners, and right fielder Braelynn Sarakas emerged with two superb catches on the run.
Jefferson was conversely plagued by nine errors, resulting in eight unearned runs, and ultimately fell short in a comeback attempt as the Lady Blackcats prevailed 9-5.
Freshman Jonsyn Rehkop continued a hot start to her first varsity season by going 3-for-4, and Miley Wengler singled twice with two runs scored for Fredericktown (3-0).
Michaela Reagan compiled 10 strikeouts and scattered five hits to win her second consecutive decision after being spotted an early 6-0 cushion.
She also supplied an offensive boost with a two-run single in the sixth after Sadie Gibson collected her second single ahead of consecutive misplays along the infield.
Annabelle Richardson belted a two-run homer to left-center field, and leadoff hitter Lia Ott contributed two singles to pace the Blue Jays.
Wengler reached safely on an infield hit, and three straight batters came aboard on two-out errors to extend the bottom of the second frame for Jefferson pitcher Reese Humphrey.
Rehkop prolonged the rally with a rolling single that Ott stopped deep in the shortstop hole, and Calie Allgier beat a ground ball past the circle for another RBI single and a 3-0 lead.
Allie Bloom singled through the left side to trigger another three-run output in the third. A dropped throw on a force play and subsequent bobble on a fly ball enhanced the damage.
Reagan worked around an Ott single on the first pitch of the game with consecutive strikeouts, and maintained a shutout hope until two Fredericktown errors occurred in the fourth inning.
Sarakas topped her earlier catch in the right-center gap with a lunging effort during the Jefferson fifth, hanging on to the ball while crashing to the ground.
But the Blue Jays found a spark when Ott singled to center and Chloe Burger bunted for a hit to place runners at the corners.
Fredericktown reacted well to a delayed steal of home moments later, as second baseman Laynee King cut an incoming throw and fired back to Kinkead for a crucial tag at the plate.
Kinkead calmly secured a pop fly near the backstop after Richardson homered to make it 6-4, and later picked off Micah Meyer at first base following an RBI single in the seventh.
Humphrey struck out three and allowed no walks in defeat, as Fredericktown hitters consistently looked to attack the first strike they saw in a given count.
King increased an 8-4 margin with an RBI ground out, and supplied her own defensive gem by reaching far to her left and corralling a ground ball in the fourth.
Amber Degeare walked twice and stole two bases for Jefferson. Ott was denied a potential third hit as Rehkop caught her long fly ball against the fence to conclude the game.
De Soto 12, North County 8
DE SOTO, Mo. – Elizabeth Woelich totaled four RBI and scored three runs while going 3-for-4, and De Soto outlasted North County 12-8 in the season opener for both softball teams on Monday.
The Dragons extended a 9-8 lead with three tallies in the home half of the fifth inning, and produced 11 hits against returning ace Sammy Waller.
Freshman Madison-Anne Carroll paced North County (0-1) by going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and an RBI in her varsity debut.
The Lady Raiders grabbed a brief 7-6 advantage in the third, but were matched when De Soto notched three runs during the home half.
Amy Layton, Addi Goggin, Autumn Bullock and Waller each had a single and RBI at the plate for North County. Raegan Pierce also singled and scored.
Waller was charged with 12 runs, five earned, and struck out seven over five innings. The game featured seven combined defensive errors.
Emma Roper pitched a perfect sixth in relief.