Cape Central came out on fire, as Alex Wieser opened the game with a double to the fence. Cape Central scored two runs in the first inning and two in the second, then held on for the win.
"It was a tough loss for (Essner)," said Kelly coach Rhonda Evans. "She hated to allow those hits in the first inning. She settled back down, and did a good job in innings four, five and six. She kept the ball low and away from their hands. It was just the first and third innings that gave her trouble."
Kelly was able to score two runs in the fourth inning as Dana Essner and Cara Scherer both crossed the plate, but it wasn't enough. The Lady Hawks had six hits in the game.
"I still would have liked to put the bat on the ball a little better than what we did," said Evans. "We did come around and get six hits. You've got to give credit when it's deserving, and Cape Central came out right off the bat with two runs in the first inning."
At the plate, Kelly Essner was 2-for-3. Other hits came from Jennifer Burnett, Monica Senciboy, Scherer and Ashley Kern, who had a double and an RBI.
Cape Central standout Megan McDonald picked up the win, issuing one walk with 10 strikeouts.
"She moves the ball around and likes to hit the corners," said Evans. "She's not a pitcher that throws 10 million different pitches, but she comes across the plate hard."
At the plate, McDonald was 2-for-3. Other hits came from Wieser, Laura Beard and Erica Schabbing.
"My defense did an excellent job," said Evans. "We had no errors today and played really tight. We just can't get the sticks to come around."
Kelly (6-2) will play in the Jackson Tournament on Saturday. Their first game is against Lutheran South at 8 a.m.
Kelly won Wednesday's junior varsity game over Cape Central 11-1. The jayvee team also recently won the Jackson Junior Varsity Tournament, posting wins over Cape Central and Sikeston.