On a bitter cold and wet day at Joplin, the Lady Tigers couldn’t get the key hit they needed, losing to Webb City 4-1 to end their season. Coach Lee Dishman says Webb City’s experience showed at crucial moments.
“They’re a little more experienced. They’ve been in this situation over and over again,” Dishman says. “When we got down to it today, when we had crucial situations, we had sophomores and freshmen rolling up there. They’ll learn from it. It’s going to be a good experience for them.”
Republic’s Stephanie Eckhoff and the defense held Webb City’s powerful offense mostly in check. But Republic couldn’t break through against Webb City pitcher Kaitlin Beason.
In the bottom of the 2nd, three straight hits to start the inning resulted in a 2-0 lead for Webb City.
Republic fought back in the top of the 4th. Eckhoff singled to lead off, and later scored on a single by Danielle Shelton. But Beason struck out Taylor Gold, then got Abby Norris to ground out to end the inning.
Webb City extended its lead in the bottom of the 4th on a two-run homer by Emily Harris to make it 4-1.
Republic threatened in the top of the 6th, when they put two runners on with nobody out. Rachael Michaelis and Danielle Shelton singled to start the inning, but Beason struck out three straight batters to get out of trouble without allowing a run.
For the game, Beason struck out nine and allowed only five hits.
Eckhoff gave up four runs on nine hits in six innings of work. She struck out three and walked one.
The Lady Tigers end their inaugural season under Dishman with a 17-10 record.
“I just told the girls I’m very proud of them,” Dishman says. “There’s a big difference between me and coach (Mike) Thorne personality-wise. They came in with an open mind and worked hard every day. It showed from the first of the year until now, we’re ten times better than when we started.”
Dishman says he’s looking forward to next season, based on how his young team performed this year.
“Very hopeful. We’re going to return seven nucleus players. It looks real good for the future,” he says. “We’re going to have to fill a void in the circle and a void in the lineup with Rachael Michaelis and Steph Eckhoff leaving, but our young girls can do it. They’ll build from experiences like this today.”