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PREP SOFTBALL: Neosho shakes off rust in 12-2 win over Monett in five innings; Kinnaird tosses no-no in first-career start

NEOSHO, Mo. — After a shaky top of the first inning, Neosho settled in on the way to a 12-2 five-inning win over Monett behind a historical first-career start for freshman Carleigh Kinnaird to open the season on the brand new turf on Monday at the Neosho Athletic Complex.

Monett (0-1) started out with the momentum, scoring twice in the top of the first inning thanks in large part to two walks and a pair of throwing errors. Neosho (1-0) responded quickly, scoring four times in the bottom half to take the lead. The Wildcats plated four more runs in the second inning before adding two runs in each of the third and fourth innings to end the game via run rule.

“I didn’t think we looked clean,” Neosho coach Catie Cummins said. “I realize it is the first game on a new field, but to me that kind of sounds like excuses. But, we settled in. The great news is once we got out of that first inning, playing tight and stuff, we settled in and took care of business. 

“I thought our defense, outside of the first inning, looked good and pitching was much improved. And we got down two runs and our offense didn’t look concerned at all. We just went up there and scored four runs and felt like we were in control.”

Freshman pitcher Carleigh Kinnaird delivers to home during Neosho’s win over Monett on Monday. Kinnaird allowed two unearned runs and tossed a no-hitter in her first varsity start. Photo by Shawn Fowler.


Kinnaird had a memorable start to her varsity softball career, earning the win in the circle for the Wildcats after allowing two unearned runs over five no-hit innings of work. She walked two and struck out six.

“The errors at third and at catcher are players we don’t frequently see errors from,” Cummins said. “So for her to settle in and say, ‘I am going to throw strikes. They are going to get outs. We’re going to be OK. If we give up a couple of runs, that’s fine because we have a good enough offense that we’ll bounce back.’ That is a conversation Coach (Jakki) Schneider had with her. She listened and took care of business, getting a lot of ground ball (outs) today.

“Giving (Carleigh) those early runs allowed her to settle down. She will learn and be able to do that even when we are down in games. But, I thought that was huge to take the pressure off of her and the defense and our hitters later in the game.”

Abby Inman took the loss for Monett after allowing 12 runs, 10 earned, on 15 hits and two walks.

Neosho catcher McKaylie Forrest rips a ball to left field in the Wildcats’ win over Monett. Photo by Shawn Fowler.


Lili Graue led the Wildcats at the plate with three hits, a walk and three runs scored. Kaitlyn Killion doubled for one of her two hits, two RBI and scored twice. Grace Johnson doubled, had two hits, scored a run and drove in one, while Baylie Bowers had two hits and scored twice. Maelynn Garrett had two hits and drove in two. Abbie Carpenter, Maddie Carpenter and McKaylie Forrest also doubled in the win. 

“We talk a lot about scoring early and often,” Cummins said. “While we didn’t score first today, we did score early and we scored every inning. You can’t ask for much more. … I felt like we had some good at-bats and were able to try a few things—some steals, some bunting, hit and run, that kind of stuff. So I was pleased with what we were able to do today.”


Neosho showed signs of rust in the top of the first inning after a pair of throwing errors coupled with two walks in the inning allowed Monett to take a 2-0 lead without recording a hit.

Neosho’s Alivia Campbell earns a base hit against Monett on Monday. Photo by Shawn Fowler.

The Wildcats responded in the last of the first inning, taking advantage of an error by Monett with the bases loaded to allow the first run to score. Alivia Campbell followed with an RBI single to tie the game at 2-2 before Johnson followed with another RBI single to give Neosho a 3-2 advantage. Garrett made it three straight run-scoring singles in the next at-bat to put Neosho up two.

Neosho used three run-scoring doubles in the second inning to double its output and build an 8-2 lead. Abbie Carpenter started the scoring off with a two-run double to left before Forrest doubled to center to plate a run. Maddie Carpenter wrapped the scoring with an RBI double to left.

Killion doubled home two runs on a line drive to center field in the fourth inning to push the lead to 10.


Neosho takes part in the Paige Neal/Christina Freeman Invitational softball tournament hosted by Joplin this weekend.

GIRLS TENNIS:  Neosho falls to Aurora in ’21 opener


The Neosho Wildcats suffered a 5-4 setback to the Aurora Houn’ Dawgs in girls tennis on Monday. 

In singles matches, Aurora’s Olivia Ray defeated Claudia Martensen 8-1 and Emily Gearheart beat Jasmine Martinez 8-3. The Wildcats lost by forfeit at No. 3 singles.

Neosho’s Lyndsey Doke defeated Kloey Boyd 9-7 at No. 4 singles. The Wildcats won matches at No. 5 and No. 6 singles by forfeit.

McKenna Bradley and Ray defeated Martensen and Martinez 8-3 at No. 1 doubles, while Gearheart-Boyd beat Doke-Lauren Nageotte 8-2 at No. 2. The Wildcats won the No. 3 doubles match by forfeit.

Neosho hosts Republic at 4:30 today. 


PREP SOFTBALL: Cassville downs Carl Junction

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Cassville scored 10 runs in the second inning on the way to a 15-1 win over Carl Junction on Monday.

After a scoreless opening frame, Cassville pushed across 10 runs in the second inning, four more in the third and added a run in the fifth to defeat the Bulldogs.

Isabelle Edwards earned the win for Cassville in the circle after allowing one run on one hit and six strikeouts in five complete innings.

Hannah Cole took the loss for Carl Junction after allowing 15 runs, five earned, on 13 hits, five walks and a strikeout.

Edwards also homered for one of her two hits while driving in four and scoring one. Makenzi Dillbeck, Ryleigh Burnette, Kalee Lowe and Elly Rameaker each had two hits for Cassville.

Izzie Southern doubled and scored a run to lead Carl Junction at the plate, while Cole picked up the Bulldogs’ lone RBI.

Carl Junction takes part in the Paige Neal/Christina Freeman Invitational softball tournament hosted by Joplin this weekend.

GIRLS TENNIS: Thomas Jefferson edges Joplin


Thomas Jefferson edged Joplin 5-4 in a girls tennis dual on Monday at the TJ courts.

The Eagles won two of three doubles matches.

At No. 1 doubles, Joplin’s Astrid Cardenas and Abry Stayton defeated Allison Ding and Jeanna Jeyaraj 8-1.

Thomas Jefferson’s Kyla Yang and Jessica Joseph defeated Cloey Blank and Mya Ndedi-Ntepe 8-3 at No. 2 doubles.

Joplin won the No. 3 doubles match, as Brynn Driver and Madi Corl beat Warda Morsy and Emalee Ro 8-2. 

The Cavaliers won four of the six singles matches. 

At No. 1 singles, Ding defeated Cardenas 8-3. Joplin’s Stayton beat Jeyaraj 8-3 at No. 2 singles, while Yang defeated Blank 8-4 at No. 3 singles.

TJ’s Joseph beat Ndedi-Ntepe 8-3 at No. 4 singles, but Joplin’s Driver defeated Morsy 8-5 at No. 5 singles.

“Brynn was able to rally back from a 1-5 deficit,” JHS assistant coach Richard Perry said. “It was nice seeing her play well after being sidelined from a knee injury all summer.” 

At No. 6 singles, TJ’s Ro beat Corl 8-2.

Joplin hosts Webb City at 4:30 on Tuesday, while Thomas Jefferson will host Nevada on Thursday.  

In another dual on Monday, College Heights defeated Webb City 5-4.

SOFTBALL: Welch delivers walk-off hit in Webb City’s season opener

WEBB CITY, Mo. — Emma Welch made sure the first game of her senior season was a memorable one. 

Welch smacked a game-winning double into left-center in the bottom of the seventh inning, lifting Webb City to a 5-4 walk-off win over Nevada on Monday in the 2021 season opener at Chuck Barnes Field. 

“I knew as a senior it was my time to step up,” Welch said. “I knew what I had to do. I had full confidence in myself and I knew my teammates had confidence in me. I went up there with confidence and it worked out for me.” 

Last year’s Class 4 runner-up, the Cardinals overcame a four-run deficit and the game was deadlocked entering the bottom of the seventh inning. 

With one out, senior designated hitter Shelby Gardner reached when the Tigers were unable to corral her line drive to third base. She later took second on a wild pitch. 

A returning all-state and all-conference center fielder, Welch stepped into the batter’s box with two outs. On a 2-0 count, Welch delivered a game-ending RBI double into the gap in left-center, setting off a celebration for the hosts.

“It was an inside pitch and it felt amazing off the bat,” Welch said. “She did amazing pitching on the outside corner. I was expecting it outside, she came with it inside and I took my opportunity. It felt so good coming off the bat. It was an amazing way to start the season.” 

“We were in a great spot,” Webb City coach Shauna Friend said. “Shelby did a great job of getting on. That gave us an opportunity to win. Then we had Peyton (Hawkins) and Emma. We knew one of them was going to get the job done.” 

Webb City third baseman Emalee Lamar fires a throw to first as shortstop Peyton Hawkins looks on. Nevada’s Bailey Ast heads for home.

The Cardinals played down the road from their usual home field because the renovations at the softball facility aren’t quite complete. 

Nevada received a run-scoring ground out from Kirstin Buck in the first. A junior third baseman, Buck launched a three-run home run to left in the third, giving the visitors a four-run cushion. 

Webb City senior shortstop Peyton Hawkins, another returning all-state and all-conference performer, connected for a solo home run to left in the third. 

The Cardinals added two runs in the fifth on senior Morgan Brannon’s homer to left-center and Hawkins’ RBI triple to left that allowed Gardner to charge home. 

Webb City tied it up in the sixth when senior catcher Kaylyn Gilbert homered to left. The team’s late heroics followed in the final frame. 

“It’s always good to open a season with a win,” Friend said. “We have some things to work on. We knew the other team was going to hit, and we just had to respond. It took us a while. But we put things together and got it done. I was pretty pleased. And this is a fun group.” 

The Cardinals recorded eight hits, and three were home runs. Hawkins and Gardner had two hits apiece.

Webb City freshman Laney Taylor delivers a pitch during Monday’s game with Nevada. Photo by Jason Peake.

Webb City freshman Laney Taylor was the winning pitcher. In her prep debut, Taylor allowed four runs on four hits and three walks while striking out six. 

“I thought she had a great first game,” Friend said. “I know she was a little nervous. She did a great job of controlling her nerves and doing the job we needed.”

Nevada freshman Peyton Eaton took the loss. She surrendered four runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out three. 

Buck drove in all four runs for Nevada (2-3). 

Webb City (1-0) will host Monett on Thursday at either Chuck Barnes Field or the high school softball stadium.  


PREP FOOTBALL: Missouri Media releases first football rankings of ‘21 season


The Missouri Media has released its statewide high school football rankings for Aug. 30. 

Joplin (1-0) is ranked fourth in Class 6, while Central Ozark Conference rival Nixa (1-0) is ranked sixth. The two schools will meet on Friday at Junge Field. 

In Class 5, Webb City (0-1) is ranked second and Carthage (1-0) is ranked sixth. 

Lamar (1-0) is ranked first in Class 2. 

Jason Peake of SoMo Sports is on the 10-member panel of sportswriters and broadcasters who vote weekly. 

Full polls are listed below. 



Below are the statewide high school football rankings, as compiled by a 10-member panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. 

Panel is made up of Dion Clisso, PrepsKC; Cody Thorn, The Examiner; Dave Kvidahl,; Tom Rackers, Jefferson City News-Tribune; Chris Parker, Ozone Sports; Brandon Zenner, The St. Joseph News-Press; J.B. Connoley, KRES radio; Matt King, The Daily Journal; Jason Peake,; Brian Rosener, Poplar Bluff Daily American Republic.

First-place votes in parenthesis. 



Rank, team, Rec., Pts.

  1. DeSmet (5), 1-0, 95  
  2. Raymore-Peculiar (5), 1-0, 92 
  3. CBC, 0-1, 74 
  4. Joplin, 1-0, 54
  5. Liberty North, 0-1, 53
  6. Nixa, 1-0, 45
  7. Rockhurst, 0-1, 44
  8. Francis Howell, 1-0, 36 
  9. Liberty, 1-0, 28
  10. Lee’s Summit North, 1-0, 13 

Also receiving votes: Hazelwood Central (1-0), 11; Kirkwood (1-0), 4; Marquette (1-0), 1 



Rank, team, Rec., Pts.

  1. Jackson (10), 1-0, 100 
  2. Webb City, 0-1, 78
  3. Raytown, 1-0, 69
  4. Battle, 1-0, 67
  5. Holt, 1-0, 64
  6. Carthage, 1-0, 55  
  7. Chaminade, 1-0, 32
  8. Fort Zumwalt North, 0-1, 31 
  9. Staley, 1-0, 27
  10. North Kansas City, 0-1, 9 

Also receiving votes: Fort Osage (1-0), 8; Lebanon (1-0), 4; Ladue (1-0), 2; Platte County (0-1), 2; Jefferson City Helias (0-1), 1; Rockwood Summit (1-0), 1



Rank, team, Rec., Pts.

  1. Smithville (7), 10, 94

T2. MICDS (1), 1-0, 84  

T2. West Plains (1), 1-0, 84

  1. Hannibal (1), 1-0, 78
  2. Harrisonville, 1-0, 59
  3. McCluer, 1-0, 44
  4. St. Dominic, 1-0, 31 
  5. Grandview, 1-0, 24
  6. Excelsior Springs, 1-0, 20
  7. Warrensburg, 1-0, 12

Also receiving votes: Union (1-0), 11; Lincoln College Prep (1-0), 5; St. Joseph Lafayette (1-0), 2; Festus (0-1), 2



Rank, team, Rec., Pts.

  1. Blair Oaks (9), 1-0, 98

       T2. Odessa, 1-0, 86

       T2. St. Mary’s (1), 1-0, 86

  1. Lutheran North, 0-1, 63
  2. Valle Catholic, 1-0, 54 
  3. Cardinal Ritter, 0-1, 49
  4. St. Pius X, 1-0, 41
  5. Cassville, 1-0, 19

    T9. Mexico, 1-0, 16

    T9. Summit Christian, 1-0, 16

Also receiving votes: Park Hills Central (1-0), 14; Kennett (1-0), 7; Reeds Spring (1-0), 1 



Rank, team, Rec., Pts.

  1. Lamar (10), 1-0, 100 
  2. Duchesne, 1-0, 77
  3. Fair Grove, 1-0, 68
  4. Macon, 1-0, 49
  5. Hallsville, 1-0, 48
  6. Maryville, 0-1, 43
  7. Lutheran St. Charles, 0-1, 39
  8. MV-Liberty, 1-0, 36 
  9. Jefferson, 1-0, 24
  10. Butler, 1-0, 23

Also receiving votes: Richmond (1-0), 13; Brookfield (1-0), 12; Clark County (1-0), 9; Lafayette County (0-1), 4; Lift for Life (0-1), 3; Palmyra (0-1), 2



Rank, team, Rec., Pts.

  1. Windsor (8), 1-0, 94
  2. Monroe City (1), 1-0, 81
  3. Mid Buchanan (1), 1-0, 77
  4. Marionville, 1-0, 63
  5. Hayti, 1-0, 60
  6. Hamilton-Penney, 1-0, 59  
  7. Westran, 1-0, 36
  8. East Buchanan, 1-0, 19

   T9. Harrisburg, 1-0, 17

   T9. Skyline, 0-1, 17

Also receiving votes: Thayer (0-1), 15; Marceline (1-0), 9; Gallatin (1-0), 3.