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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Lady Hawks win another title

Monday, October 11, 2004

Kelly's Whitney Beggs
PERRYVILLE -- Kelly's district dynasty continued with a convincing 4-1 win over Valley Park on Saturday.

The Lady Hawks (21-6) captured their third straight Class 2 district title and their 18th in 19 seasons, the string interrupted only by a loss to Notre Dame of Cape Girardeau in 2001.

"It feels good," said Kelly coach Rhonda Ratledge, of her third title since returning to the program after a two-year hiatus. "It's a little nerve-wracking, especially when you go in against a team that hasn't lost.

"People were saying, 'well, they haven't played anybody,' but even if they hadn't, they were doing something right to go 24-0."

Valley Park (24-1), undefeated going in and, reportedly, miffed at being seeded second behind Kelly, glimpsed Lady Hawk tradition, firsthand.

Senior hurler Whitney Beggs struck out 13 Valley Park -- also Lady Hawks -- batters while tossing a dominating one-hitter. "Whitney was excellent on the mound and the girls behind her did a wonderful job," said Ratledge.

Kelly played errorless defense and executed the trademark Kelly offense to perfection.

In the bottom of the first, Rachel Kline rapped a two-out single in front of Beggs double, putting runners at second and third. Then Kelly's leading run producer, Mindy Robert, belted a two-run triple to stake the Lady Hawks to a 2-0 lead.

Kelly added another run in the third when Jessica Burnett singled and reached second on a sacrifice bunt. Beggs stroked her second hit, advancing Burnett to third, where she scored on Robert's sacrifice fly to centerfield for a 3-0 advantage.

A final run came across in the sixth. Robert reached on the second of two Valley Park errors, advanced to second and third on consecutive sacrifice bunts, then trotted home on a passed ball.

Kristan Harper (single) and Brittany Ponder (double) added one hit each to Kelly's seven-hit total.

Said Ratledge, "Offensively, the girls stayed aggressive and kept pushing all the way to the seventh inning."

Valley scored its lone run in the top of the seventh.

The final out was rung up on a stellar defensive play by Kelly rightfielder Kaylie Hughes.

Hughes got a great jump and made a nice running catch of a ball hit into the right-centerfield gap.

"Thank God she's tall and has long arms," said a smiling Ratledge.

Kelly advances to the sectional round against host Elsberry (20-5) on Wednesday.