The Monroe City softball team scored six runs in the third inning to flip a deficit into an 8-3 home win over Hannibal on Tuesday night.
Lauren Youngblood struck twice for the Monroe City softball team in the third inning Tuesday night against Hannibal.
The Lady Panthers second baseman led off the frame with a single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Rachel Smith. Youngblood later drove in two runs with another hit to establish a commanding lead.
The hosts sent 12 batters to the plate and totaled six runs in the inning.
Youngblood finished the day 4-for-4 and McKenzie West struck out 12 batters during a complete game effort to lead Monroe City to an 8-3 win.
“We just came in with the mindset of what we had to do," Youngblood said. "Our bats are just really hot right now and we kept it going. It's great to see that everyone was doing their job.”
Bailee Hays, Carly Youngblood and West each added RBI singles in the third to help flip a 3-2 deficit into a five-run lead.
The final three runs came with two outs against Hannibal starter Taylor Wilson.
“Our girls know how to feed off each other,” said Monroe City coach Melissa Chinn. “They hit the ball really well, and when we have runners on, we have to do our job, and we did that. It was good to see us pick each other up.”
Monroe City's first two tallies of the game came in the first. Lauren Youngblood scored on an error for a 1-0 lead, and Hays beat out an RBI infield single that drove home Skyler Kauble for the second run.
West breezed through the top of the first inning on 12 pitches before encountering some trouble in the second.
Josie Zeiger led off with an infield single for Hannibal and scored on a fielder's choice to pull to within 2-1. The senior weaved her way out of a rundown between third and home.
Avery Lake delivered a two-run, two-out single to right field to give the Lady Pirates a 3-2 advantage.
“Avery is not in the middle of our lineup, but she leads our team in average with runners in scoring position,” Hannibal coach Andrew Pollard said of his leadoff hitter. “It's awesome how that works out.”
Wilson worked a 1-2-3 second for Hannibal before the wheels came off when Monroe City broke through in the game-changing bottom of the third.
From that point on, West settled in. The senior retired 11 straight Lady Pirates until Zeiger singled with one out in the sixth.
“McKenzie (West) did a great job,” Chinn said. “She was humming.”
West overcame the second-inning hiccup to allow just four hits for the game.
“I don't think McKenzie let the runs get to her at all,” Lauren Youngblood said. “She takes that and it motivates her to get even better.”
Hannibal managed to put just two runners on base over the final five innings and advanced no further than second base.
“Our bats just went quiet,” Pollard said. “With 12 strikeouts and four hits, it's hard to win a ballgame against a team as good as Monroe and a pitcher as good as they have.”
Wilson took the loss after allowing eight runs (three earned) while scattering 11 hits over five innings. The senior, who struck out four, stranded runners in scoring position in the fourth and fifth.
Hannibal was hurt by a pair of costly errors in the field that extended both of Monroe City's run-scoring innings.
Monroe City played a clean game defensively with no errors behind West.
“Our defense is strong and mentally tough and will be all year long,” Chinn said.
The Lady Panthers utilized their strong speed on the base paths with six steals, two by Kauble. Chinn was pleased with how her team applied pressure.
“We've got wheels and we're going to definitely take advantage of that,” the coach said. “Hopefully that's what we're going to be doing a lot more of.”
Monroe City (4-1) is slated to play at South Shelby for a Clarence Cannon Conference game Thursday.
Hannibal (2-5) is scheduled to host Marshall for a doubleheader Saturday at Veterans Sports Complex in North Central Missouri Conference action.
“This next stretch determines the rest of our season,” Pollard said of the Lady Pirates. “If we turn the corner and look at this as a start-over, then going into districts we'll be in better position.”