With two conference games remaining on the schedule, the Lady Cubs control their own fate in the conference title race.
Since every team in the conference has at least one loss the math is very simple; win and you are guaranteed a share of the Big 8 title crown
Carl Junction sent Sydney Koch to the mound. In three seasons, Monett was 1-2 against the wiley veteran with the only victory coming in last season's district title game.
"No doubt she is a good pitcher and has given us fits over the years," said Goetz. "She has cost us shots at a conference title the last two seasons."
Allie Krueger led off the bottom of the first with a bunt single and with one out, Kelsey Wiseman singled to push Krueger to third. Josee Krueger, the next batter, looped a fly ball over the second baseman's head to score Allie and give Monett a 1-0 advantage.
Koch then settled into a groove and retired nine of the next 11 batters with five outs via strike out.
Senior Ragian Ratliff took to the pitchers circle for Monett. Ratliff cruised through the first three innings only yielding a harmless one-out walk in the first 10 batters she faced.
The fourth inning proved to be a little rocky.
Ratliff struggled to find the strike zone and issued a one-out walk to Sydni Beck. Michaela Horn singled to put runners on first and second.
Arista Pattyson was the next batter. Pattyson, on a 3-1 pitch, sent a screaming line drive down the third base line that had "extra bases" written all over it. Monett third baseman Josee Krueger stuck her glove out to snare the rocket and fired over to first to complete the double play and end the scoring threat.
"With out a doubt that was the play of the game," said Goetz. "Josee did what you expect a senior leader to do. She made a play to help her team."
The double play deflated the Lady Buldogs and they would struggle the remainder of the contest to get a hit.
In the bottom of the fifth, Monett manufactured some insurance.
With one away, Allie Krueger was hit by a pitch. She then stole second and third base. With two outs, Wiseman collected her second hit of the game to score Allie.
Ratliff stopped Carl Junction in the sixth and seventh innings to preserve the win.
"This was a good win for our squad," said Goetz. "I wish we could score more runs, but the girls made plays when they had to and we now control our fate."
Koch pitched six innings, allowed five hits, two earned runs and struck out nine.
Ratliff threw seven innings, surrendered four hits, no runs and struck out four. Of the 27 batters Ratliff faced, she threw 19 first pitch strikes.
"That was huge for our team," said Goetz. "Raigan is a pitch to contact pitcher and she doesn't strike out many batters. It's important that she works ahead in the count to keep batters off-balanced."
In the JV game, Monett improved to 6-1 with a 10-0 victory.
|Ashton Ratliff earned the victory on the mound.||Abby Krueger and Haley Morris scored three runs apiece. Kendall Bounous scored two runs and Ashton Ratliff and Brooke Burnside each scored a run.|
The Lady Cubs varsity team will be in action this weekend at the Springfield Invitational Tournament at the Cooper Complex in Springfield. A bracket can be found at www.monett-times.com.