Pierce City slides past Southwest
The Pierce City Lady Eagles, the three-time defending district softball champs, played host to the Lady Trojans on Thursday, Sept. 26.
Southwest's bus ride to Pierce City was nearly as long as the game itself. The seven inning pitching duel lasted around an hour and two minutes.
"That was the fastest, most efficient softball game I have seen since MSHSAA moved the circle to 43 feet," said Southwest coach Tony Eagleburger.
Both pitchers tossed gems, but McKenzie Moreland, the Lady Eagles' All-State pitcher, bested Southwest's Kaleigh Ennis by no-hitting the Lady Trojans.
Moreland, who fielded her position well, was also backed by outstanding defense the entire game.
The Lady Eagles and Moreland robbed the Lady Trojans of at least four hits.
The best play was made by Pierce City's Samantha Crow.
Southwest's Kenzie Harvey laced a very hard liner that Crow snatched out of the air for a "loud out" and kept the perfect game intact through five innings.
With two outs in the top of the sixth, Southwest broke up Moreland's attempt at a perfect game.
Whitney Curry grounded a ball into the hole at short.
Pierce City's shortstop, Brooke Ridenour, kept it on the infield dirt and then made a long throw that short hopped and just barely pulled the first baseman's foot off the bag.
"Softball is a game of inches," said Eagleburger. "And an inch or two on several balls we hit today could've made this a different game. I tip my hat to Coach Gunnels and her team. Her pitching. and particularly her defense, were outstanding today."
Southwest's pitching and defense was good as well.
Ennis tossed six innings, allowed five hits and no earned runs in getting tagged with the loss.
The Lady Eagles tallied one run in the first.
Bailee Hayward reached on an error and scored on a double by Moreland.
Pierce City's other run came on a single by Ridenour in the fourth that was misplayed by a Southwest outfielder, allowing Ridenour to get to third. She scored on a ground out.
"Good high school softball is about which team will blink first, or at the wrong time," said Eagleburger. "The two times we blinked today, Pierce capitalized. That is what good teams do."
Pierce City hosts Sarcoxie on Oct. 3. First pitch is set for 4:30 p.m.