The McDonald County High School softball team has had several late-inning rallies that led to big wins this season, but none may have been bigger than the Lady Mustang's 5-4 extra-inning win over Monett on Oct. 2 in Monett.
The win gave McDonald County a 10-1 record in the first year of the newly configured Big 8 Conference, assuring the Lady Mustangs a share of the conference championship. The share of the conference turned into an outright conference title later that day when Seneca lost to Reeds Spring.
McDonald County took a 1-0 lead over the Lady Cubs in the first on singles by Chloe Colvin, Whitney Kinser and Kylie Helm and a two-out walk to Madeline McCall.
Monett took a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the inning, scoring two runs on two hits and a hit batter off of Alexa Hopkins, who allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings before McCall shut out the Lady Cubs over the final two innings for the win, allowing one hit while striking out four.
The Lady Mustangs made it 2-2 in the second when Rita Santillan was hit by a hit pitch, stole second and scored on Kinser's single.
McDonald County took a 4-2 lead in the fourth. Leslie Yousey reached on an error to start the uprising. Colvin singled with two out before Kinser was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Helm. The senior responded with a two-run single on a line shot to right field.
Monett tied the game with single runs in the sixth and seventh to send the game to extra innings.
But McDonald County, within an out of winning the game in the bottom of the seventh, came back in the eighth for the win. Santillan singled and stole second with one out. With two out, Monett elected to intentionally walk Kinser and Helm to load the bases. Hopkins then drew a walk to drive in the winning run.
"We played well and had girls compete all year," said coach Skyler Rawlins. "We got to mix in Mo (McCall) and Lex (Hopkins) and they helped each other out. We found some big hits when we needed them. That was a game where our future was in our hands to a degree and we responded. It was nice to get a conference championship because we were able to take care of business."
Colvin finished with four hits, while Kinser and Helm had two each and Santillan and Yousey had one each.
Only the rain and the Blair Oaks Lady Falcons could slow down the Lady Mustangs.
McDonald County earned a trip to the tournament finals with three consecutive wins only to drop a 10-3 decision to Blair Oaks in the championship game after waiting two hours for a brief rainstorm to pass.
McDonald County jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two innings to have the Lady Falcons score five runs in the fourth and seventh innings for the win.
Santillan scored two of the three McDonald County runs and also drove in two with her second-inning home run. Helm's single in the first drove in Santillan, who walked to lead off the game, with the game's first run.
But Blair Oaks put together four hits and a walk off McCall in the fourth to score four runs before Hopkins came in and gave up a hit that scored a fifth.
The Lady Falcons added five insurance runs in the seventh on four hits and two errors.
Helm had three hits to lead McDonald County, while Santillan, Colvin and Kinser had one each.
McDonald County scored a run in the top of the seventh to pull out a 3-2 win over Jefferson City in the semifinals. Hopkins went the distance for the win, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out four.
Hopkins opened the seventh with a single. Courtesy runner Caitlyn Hall stole second and scored on a single by Kristen Cornell to give McDonald County the win.
McCall had two hits, while Kinser, Hopkins and Cornell had one each, to lead the Lady Mustang offense.
McDonald County broke open a close game with four seventh-inning runs to beat Ozark 7-2 in the quarterfinals.
McCall got the win, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out 11. Singles by Santillan and Colvin and doubles by Kinser and Helm keyed the Lady Mustang's four-run seventh.
Santillan and Helm had three hits, and Kinser two, to lead McDonald County, while McCall added a fourth-inning homer. Colvin, Hopkins, Kristin Cornell and Kaylee Cornell added one hit each.
Hopkins pitched a one-hitter to lead McDonald County to a 6-0 win over Stoutland in the tourney opener.
Kristen Cornell had three hits and Santillan had two to lead the offense, while Colvin, Helm and Hopkins had one each.
McDonald County improves to 22-4 overall to close out the regular season. The Lady Mustangs received the top seed in this week's Missouri Class 3, District 12, Softball Tournament at Aurora. McDonald County plays at 4 p.m. on Oct. 11, taking on the winner of the Cassville-Carl Junction game. The championship game is set for 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 12.
Helm had a two-homer day to lead McDonald County to a 7-6 win over Webb City on Oct. 1 at Webb City High School.
The senior catcher finished the game with four hits and five RBIs, including a leadoff shot in the seventh inning that broke a 6-6 tie.
Hopkins got the win in relief of McCall, allowing a run on two hits in two and a third innings. McCall went the first four and two-thirds, allowing five runs on seven hits.Sports on 10/11/2018
Print Headline: Lady Mustangs Clinch Conference Title