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Monett falls in quarterfinal action

Monday, October 15, 2012

Close play. Raigan Ratliff, a senior at Monett High School, is thrown out attempting to steal third during the Class 3 quarterfinal game on Oct. 13 against Blair Oaks. [Times Photo by Jon Whitlock]
The Monett Lady Cubs softball team (23-6) season ended with a 7-1 loss to the Blair Oaks Lady Falcons (22-7) on Oct. 13 in the Class 3 quarterfinals.

"Blair Oaks is a solid team," said Monett coach Ty Goetz. "They made plays in all phases of the game to win. You have to tip your cap to them. They will be a force next week at state."

The Lady Cubs were riding a wave of positive accomplishments coming into the contest. This season, Monett won the prestigious Springfield Tournament, secured their first Big 8 Conference title and won their second consecutive district title.

Based on a coin flip, Monett was designated the visiting team.

The Lady Cubs, who had thrived on clutch two-out hit and solid defense, struggled with both early in the game.

A two-out single by Kelsey Wisemen was all Monett could muster in its first at bat.

The Lady Falcons leadoff hitter LeeAnn Polowy singled to open the home half of the first and Sara Jones reached on an error. With one out, Amy Dorge hit a RBI single to center to score Polowy.

Monett tied the game in the third when Brooke Burnside reached on an error. Kendal Bounous was sent in as a courtesy runner for Burnside. Jessica Harper bunted Bounous over to second and Raigan Ratliff hit a two-out single to score Bounous.

"I thought we had a chance to settle in and string some things together when we tied the game," said Goetz. "We just struggled to get the ball out of the infield."

In the bottom of the third, Blair Oaks retook the lead for good sending eight hitters to the plate.

With one out, Paige Kleffner tripled and scored on a double by Ashley Forck. Forck scored on a triple by Payton Staggs, and Staggs scored on a single by Lauren Viessman. In a matter of 15 pitches, the Lady Falcons established a 4-1 lead.

Monett only managed five hits, all singles in the contest. Ratliff had two hits in three tries and Wiseman was three for three.

In the top of the sixth, Ratliff and Wiseman singled back-to-back to open the frame, but Monett couldn't get another hit to move the runners.

Blair Oaks shut the door on any thoughts of a comeback with three runs in the bottom of the sixth. A solo home run by Polowy and a two-run home run by Dorge gave the Lady Falcons a six-run lead.

Allie Kruger allowed eight hits and five earned runs in five innings of work. She struck out four.

"Its not the ending we had envisioned," said Goetz. "A lot of credit has to be given to our five seniors for raising the expectation level of our program. The key for us is to play as much softball as we can in the next few months and get ready for next year."

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