CAPE GIRARDEAU -- Kelly softball coach Melanie Heuring expected a tough challenge from Cape Central in Thursday's season opener, and a tough game is exactly what the Lady Hawks got in a 3-1 extra-innings victory.
"I knew it was going to be a close game because Cape Central is a good team," said Heuring. "We had a few errors early, but eventually calmed down. We didn't get our offense going until late in the game."
With the tie scored knotted 1-1 after the sixth and seventh innings, Kelly scored two runs in the eighth to secure the win. Monica Senciboy started things off with a double, then Dana Essner bunted and reached first on a throwing error as Senciboy scored.
After a groundout by Natalie Lewer, Bridgett Riley hit sacrifice fly to score Senciboy.
Lewer pitched all eight innings for Kelly, allowing seven hits and one walk with nine strikeouts. Cape Central's Holly Schnurbusch was charged with the loss, after allowing three runs on six hits.
"Natalie was really strong on the mound," said Heuring. "I thought after the first few innings, our defense really backed her up like they're supposed to."
Offensively for Kelly, Senciboy led the charge, batting 2-for-4. Other hits came from Dana Essner, Lewer, Ashley Kern, and Sara Essner.
Cape Central falls to 2-4 with the loss. Kelly (1-0) will travel to Twin Rivers today. Kelly won the junior varsity game 15-0. Freshman standout Kelly Essner threw a no-hitter, striking out 14 batters in just five innings.