Webster County turned in to big wins last week. As if knocking off one of the best teams in the state wasn’t enough, the Lady Trojans got revenge on Henderson, setting themselves of with chance to claim the regular season District Title, which comes with an automatic bid to the regional tournament.
The Lady Trojans hosted the Union County Bravettes on Tuesday night after press time. Union came in with a 1-2 District record, while Webster stood at 2-1.
Webster County 5
Henderson County 2
A textbook hangover from an upset win against Union County did Webster County in the last time they played Henderson County, as the Lady Trojans fell to the Lady Colonels 7-5 in eight innings at home back on April 13.
The Lady Trojans did not let their guard down the second time they played the Lady Colonels---this time on the road.
Behind nine strikeouts on the mound and a solo homer at the plate by sophomore Karlie Keeney, Webster County avenged that earlier loss with a 5-2 win over the Lady Colonels at North Field last Tuesday night. The victory marked just the third time in school history the Lady Trojans have knocked off the Lady Colonels in Henderson.
“We came in (last Tuesday night) wanting it,” said Webster County coach Greg Sutton. “You got to want it. We didn’t give up, and that was good to see us not give up.”
Webster County (11-5-1) drew first blood in this Sixth District showdown in the top of the second when sophomore Kerstin Braden grounded out to first to drive in freshman Grace Scott to give Webster County an early 1-0 lead.
But just like the earlier matchup in Dixon a couple weeks ago, the Lady Colonels came roaring back.
Henderson County (3-17) knotted it back up in the bottom of the fourth after freshman Sophie Margolot doubled and then scored on a throwing error in a rundown between third base and home plate moments later.
Junior Kaitlyn McCormick then cracked a triple to right field, and freshman Rylie Bentley followed suit with a triple to nearly the same spot to plate McCormick and put Henderson County in front 2-1.
But the Lady Trojans answered the bell in the top of the fifth.
With two outs, sophomore Kayla Yates singled to left to bring up Keeney, who belted a double to left center to put two runners in scoring position for Webster County.
Hattie Hartman then came through for her team yet again, knocking a double to deep center field to pull Webster County back in front, 3-2. Hartman also drove in the go-ahead run for the Lady Trojans in a 4-3 win at Crittenden County on Monday night.
After neither team scored in the sixth, the Lady Trojans added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh on an RBI double by Yates and a solo shot by Keeney that cleared the fence in left center---her third home run of the season to create a three-way tie with Scott and Hartman as the home run leader for the Lady Trojans.
After the Lady Colonels led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk, Keeney then sat down the next three Henderson County batters to secure the victory.
Keeney earned the win for Webster County, giving up just two runs on seven hits and one walk, while striking out nine. Keeney’s dominance was especially evident early on, when the sophomore had already struck out seven Lady Colonels after just three innings.
Hartman led Webster County offensively, collecting two hits in four plate appearances and plating two runners. Yates went an impressive 3-for-4 with an RBI double, and Keeney was also a major force at the plate for Webster County in the win, going 2-for-4 on the game and adding an RBI for the Lady Trojans.
“It (the win) was a team effort,” said Sutton. “There’s no doubt about that.”
Webster County 4
Apollo High School 2
The Webster County Lady Trojans were simply humiliated the last time they faced off against a ranked opponent, losing to Madisonville-North Hopkins 16-1 in just three innings of play.
Webster County squared off against a team that was ranked once again on Thursday night, except the end result was quite different this time around. The Lady Trojans rallied late in the game to defeat the 11th-ranked Apollo E-gals 4-2 at Clarky Clark Athletic Complex.
“Yeah it’s a good feeling,” said Webster County coach Greg Sutton. “I know the girls are pumped. After beating Henderson I was hoping we would just continue what we needed to do (to win). I felt like we were much more patient at the plate (Thursday night) than we have been.”
After neither team scored in the first frame of action, Webster County (12-5-1) got the ball rolling in the bottom of the second.
Freshman Grace Scott led off the half of the inning with a walk for the Lady Trojans, then advanced to second on a wild pitch moments later.
After E-gals’ pitcher Haley John set down freshman Kennedy Villines and junior Kari Wood, sophomore Kerstin Braden then came through with a scorching single to center field to score Scott and put Webster out in front, 1-0.
Lady Trojan pitcher Karlie Keeney retired the first 10 E-gal batters to start the game (including six strikeouts), but freshman Brooke Brown finally broke up the no-hit bid with a one-out infield single to short in the top of the fourth.
John then drew a walk and advanced to second base on a passed ball to put two runners in scoring position with no outs for the E-gals (14-8).
Senior Courtney Weedman followed with a slow roller in front of home plate that scored Brown to knot the game back up before junior Kylie Frizzell laid a SAC bunt down the first base line to score John and put Apollo in front 2-1 after four innings.
But almost like it was scripted from the Henderson County game last Tuesday night, the fifth inning proved to be the time when the Lady Trojans would turn the momentum yet again.
Braden continued her hot hitting streak to lead off the bottom of the fifth, smacking a single to right field to get things going for the Lady Trojans.
After sophomore Rylee Warford popped out to right field, freshman Hadlee Carter laid what was supposed to be a SAC bunt down the first base line. But an errant throw over the first baseman’s head put runners at second and third for Webster County with no outs.
Sophomore Kayla Yates then attempted to sacrifice the runners over and score the tying run, but Braden was called out for running outside of the baseline in a rundown between third and home.
With two outs and Keeney up to the plate, a wild pitch squirted away from the E-gals’ catcher long enough for Carter to score and tie the ballgame up at 2-2.
The E-gals could not muster up any runs in the top of the sixth, and the Lady Trojans took advantage of this opportunity.
After being down 0-2 in the count, Hattie Hartman battled all the way back to draw a leadoff walk for the Lady Trojans before Villines also walked to put runners at first and second with no outs for Webster County.
With Wood to bat the Lady Trojans put on the double steal, and the throw to get Villines out was over the second baseman’s head to plate seventh grader Gracie Thomas for the go-ahead run in the first varsity appearance of Thomas’s young career.
“We just gave her a varsity jersey (Thursday night) as a seventh grader,” said Sutton. “We are going to start using her as a base runner and she actually catches well for Karlie (Keeney) at practice as a seventh grader. I think she’s going to step up and be an excellent catcher for us eventually here at Webster County.”
Back in the batter’s box, Wood then continued the “small ball” strategy that Webster County had been doing the whole game up to that point by laying down yet another bunt that allowed Villines to slide safely into home, giving Webster County a two-run cushion going into the final inning of regulation.
Apollo put one runner on with a two-out base hit by freshman Madison Julian, but the E-gals left her stranded on base to end the game.
The Lady Trojans hosted district rival Union County on Tuesday night, but the conclusion of the game was after press time. The victor of that game claimed the top seed in the Sixth District Tournament, as well as an automatic berth in the regional tourney.
Reach CAMERON BROWN