Hannibal softball shuts out St. Charles to move on in districts

The 2021 Hannibal softball team. Front row left to right: Rylee Culp, Emilee Wilson, Kylie McAfee and Ryleigh Butler. Middle row: Alana Pfeifer, Stormy Rickey, Cadence Brown, Sydney Phillips, Kennedi Gibbons, Baylee Butler, Harper Karr, Chloe Simms, Gracey Whittaker, Bailey Brinkley, Kameil Crane, McKenna Hull, Sidney Zimmerman, Malika Sturm and Katie Reddick. Back row: Brookelyn Livesay, Mercedes Zumwalt, Lilly Baker, Nevaeh Boling, Hayleigh Smashey, Jackie Sims, Teagen Novel, Jay LaJoy, Alyssa Hart, Brandi Powell, Piper Harvey, Danica Vohs, Ava Garnett and Kira Riley.

ST. CHARLES, Mo. — Hannibal defeated St. Charles 6-0 in the first round of the Class 4 District 4 Softball Tournament on Tuesday to stay alive in the postseason.

The Lady Pirates win broke an eight-game losing streak for the team after entering Tuesday’s game with a different mindset.

Hannibal head coach Andrew Pollard said the team was eager to play better in district play after being disappointed with their regular season record.

“I’ve been preaching a lot over the last several days (that) our season starts today,” Pollard said. “We can’t dwell on what happened individually and as a team the past 20-plus games. They did and came out in the first inning and jumped on them.”

Hannibal first baseman Emilee Wilson went 3-for-4 with an RBI to help kickstart the Lady Pirates offense.

Shortstop Chloe Simms went 2-for-4 with a stolen base and a run. Pitcher Kylie McAfee went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Ryleigh Butler and Stormy Rickey each had an RBI.

The Lady Pirates scored two runs in the first inning. Center fielder Alana Pfeifer singled and was driven in by a McAfee single. McAfee was replaced with a courtesy runner, who later scored.

“We get those two runs in the first inning ... and that was kind of a sparkplug for us,” Pollard said. “It gave us all the confidence that we need going into a game against a good St. Charles team.”

Hannibal added one run in both the third and fourth innings. The Lady Pirates would then score two more runs in the sixth inning to shut the door on St. Charles.

“It was kind of a combination of getting on base, getting those big hits and scoring on small ball,” Pollard said. “Being able to do something we haven’t done much this year, a combination of both.”

McAfee was the winning pitcher after throwing a complete game shutout with four strikeouts, while limiting St. Charles to four hits.

“We’ve kind of been resting her for this exact moment,” Pollard said. “She did her job. She threw strikes. We only had (four) strikeouts, but we were still able to get outs using our defense. That’s what we need from her.”

Hannibal had two outstanding defensive plays during the fifth inning from third baseman Alyssa Hart and Pfeifer on back-to-back plays.

Hannibal (5-19) will play Warrenton (16-10) in the second round of the Class 4 District 4 Tournament on Wednesday at 2 p.m.

Pollard said Hannibal is ready for the quick turnaround on Wednesday.

“We haven’t had a lot of back-to-back games this year,” Pollard said. “I think the girls are ready, honestly.”

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