Lady Hawks one win away from Final Four
BENTON -- Kelly qualified for the quarterfinal round of the Class 2 state playoffs on Wednesday afternoon, beating Elsberry in the sectionals 6-0.
With the victory, the Lady Hawks are just one win away from reaching the Final Four.
"(The girls) are ready," said Kelly coach Rhonda Evans. "They know they're one game away from the Final Four."
Junior pitcher Whittney Beggs got the win against Elsberry, improving her personal record to 8-5. In seven innings of work, she allowed two hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.
"Whittney threw an excellent game today," said Evans. "She only allowed those two hits, and the defense was behind her. She has an off-speed pitch with her changeup and her fastball. When they did put it in play, it stayed in the infield."
Offensively, Kelly scored the six runs on six hits. Ashley Kern led the way, batting 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
"She pulled through for us today," said Evans. "She has been an excellent batter all season. When I've got runners on, I can pretty much depend on her to get the RBI or at least move the runners to the next bag. That's exactly what she did today."
Kelly Essner was 1-for-2 with an RBI. Monica Senciboy was 1-for-3 with a triple and an RBI. Michelle Collins and Stephanie Hency also had hits.
Jessica Burnett and Beggs both provided RBIs.
"We had absolutely no strikeouts today, and that's what won the ballgame," said Evans. "The girls put it in play every single time and made (Elsberry) work."
Elsberry's Stonebreaker was charged with the loss. Stone and Murphy had the team's two hits.
Kelly was the home team, scoring two runs in the bottom of the third, one in the fourth, two in the fifth and one in the sixth.
"It was a pretty close game early on," said Evans. "It was three up, three down the first two innings. In the bottom of the third inning, the girls started hitting. It was a good day offensively."
Even with the early start time, the Lady Hawks played the game in front of a good sized crowd.
"I was a little worried because the game was at 2:30," said Evans. "That's kind of early for parents to get off work, and our students were still in class. But everybody took off and supported these girls extremely well. We had a really good audience today."
The Lady Hawks (19-6) will face Blair Oaks (16-5) in the quarterfinals on Saturday at the Kirkwood Athletic Association Complex in St. Louis. The game is scheduled to start at noon.
In other area playoff games, Purdy beat Naylor 1-0 in eight innings in a Class 1 sectional. In Class 3, DeSoto nipped Windsor 2-1. The Lady Dragons will face Sullivan in Saturday's quarterfinal round.
In Class 4, Cape Central beat Oakville 1-0. The Lady Tigers will take on Lindbergh on Saturday in the quarterfinals.