The Monroe City softball team didn't waste time making a statement to start the new season Monday with a 17-1 home win over Mark Twain.

The Monroe City softball team didn't waste time making a statement to start the new season Monday. 

McKenzie West hit for the cycle, Rachel Smith drove in three runs and Montana Masterson earned a win in her first high school start to lift Monroe City to a 17-1 home victory over Mark Twain.

West, the Lady Panthers' leadoff hitter, launched a home run and finished 4-for-4 with three runs and five RBIs in the onslaught.

“McKenzie really set the tone for the whole game when she led off with a triple,” Monroe City coach Melissa Chinn said. “She is very good at being patient and hitting her pitch. That’s pretty amazing to hit for the cycle in the first game of the year.”

Smith delivered three singles and scored twice, providing a formidable threat in the heart of the order.

The senior catcher stood out defensively as well. She served as a guide for Masterson, a sophomore making her pitching debut for the team.

“Rachel takes on such a mom role when she’s catching,” Chinn said. “She knows how to keep the pitchers calm and throw their game. Her bat worked well tonight and she came through when we had runners on.”

Masterson surrendered a run in the first inning but otherwise kept Mark Twain off the board. The starter struck out three while allowing just one hit and two baserunners for the game. 

Emma Clarkson doubled and scored for Mark Twain in the first.

“I could tell Montana was nervous to start the game, but once she settled in, she threw her game and did a great job,” Chinn said. “She has great movement with her pitches. We just need to get her some confidence.” 

Monroe City plated five runs in the first, three in the second and nine more in the third to enforce the mercy rule.

Nine different players scored for Monroe City.

Bailee Hays and Masterson each had two hits in the win.

Sydnee Brothers took the loss for Mark Twain, which was hurt by nine unearned runs. 

Monroe City is scheduled to play Hickman at home on Wednesday, the same day Mark Twain is slated for a road game at Hallsville.