The Cassville Lady Wildcats softball team has accomplished a first by winning the Crowder Tournament this past weekend.
After finishing in the runner-up spot last year, Cassville wasn't going to let that happen again. The Lady Wildcats defeated Southwest, East Newton and Reeds Spring to advance to the championship game against Purdy. After eight innings, Cassville outlasted the Lady Eagles 2-1 to win the tournament title.
"When we hit the field Saturday, the kids were not going to back down," said Coach Ben Abramovitz.
"In the final, we faced a Purdy team who is always well coached and also a strong fundamental team," Abramovitz said. "We made it to the seventh inning tied and went to the eighth. For the first time since I have been at Cassville, I saw it in every one of their eyes when we took the field in the top of the eighth, they were not about to let the game slip away from them."
The game was scoreless until the fifth inning when both teams put one run on the board to knot the score at 1-1. In the eighth, Jaime Everett got on base with a single and then moved to third on a stolen base and a sacrifice fly. Kelsey Vollenweider picked up the only RBI of the game when she brought Everett home with a single to left field to clinch the game.
Taylor Wolf picked up the win for Cassville, taking the mound in the fourth inning, striking out two and giving up five hits but no earned runs. Emily Speakman pitched the first three innings, giving up zero hits.
On offense, Everett and Raeghan Blisard led the Lady Wildcats with both going two for four from the plate. Paighton Brock, Kennadi Howard and Kelsey Vollenweider also recorded hits for Cassville.
"This was an amazing team effort, from the starters to the closers, to the pinch runners and hitters," added Abramovitz. "This is a talented, hard-working group of girls that have a desire to win every time they take the field."
Other tourney games
In the tournament opener, Cassville defeated Southwest 3-2. Speakman pitched the whole game to earn the win. She gave up only one hit and struck out eight. Kelsey Baker, Howard and Speakman all tallied RBI in the victory.
Next, the Lady Wildcats took on East Newton and downed the Lady Patriots 7-4. Blisard had a big night at the plate, going two for three with two RBI. Cari Vollenweider was credited with two RBI, and Skylar Branham, Speakman and Katelyn Pitts also brought runs across the plate with timely hits.
"The first two wins were close, and we allowed teams to stay in the game, however when it came time to put runners on and make things happen, the kids stepped up," said Abramovitz. "We came home and had a good three-hour practice on Friday and put our focus on eliminating the errors and playing strong from the top of inning number one."
Against Reeds Spring on Saturday morning, a Central Ozark Conference team, Cassville dominated, earning a 6-1 win that propelled the Lady Wildcats to the championship game.
Speakman was again strong on the mound, striking out seven while giving up six hits.
Offensively, Brock led Cassville, going two for four with a triple and two RBI. Others picking up hits were: Howard, two for three with one RBI; Blisard, one for three with one RBI; Cari Vollenweider, one for one; Kelsey Baker, one for two; and Kelsey Vollenweider, one for three with two RBI.
The Lady Wildcats host Big 8 rival Monett on Thursday and travel to take on Seneca next Tuesday.