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BASEBALL: Bishop McGuinness’ early lead holds up against Webb City

WEBB CITY, Mo. — The Bishop McGuinness (Okla.) Irish came into Webb City’s Chuck Barnes Field and spoiled both the Cardinals’ season opener and their first game under new head coach Andrew Doennig with a 4-2 win on Friday for the guests from Oklahoma City.

Bishop McGuinness scored three runs in the second and one in the third, a margin large enough to withstand Webb City’s two runs in the fifth and collect the first of two wins on the day for the Irish.

The Cardinals finished the day with eight hits, all singles, and left behind five runners while three other Webb City runners were thrown out on the bases.

For example, Bishop McGuinness center fielder Ben Corley caught a fly ball and fired a perfect strike to home to get McQuade Eilenstein out at the plate to end the second and leave Webb City scoreless in the meantime.

“A lot of first-game mistakes,” Doennig said. “Honestly, I probably made the three biggest mistakes of the game. Sending a kid home, it was probably a 50/50 deal, and I was pressing to get a run early in the game. A kid gets thrown out at third base going from first to third and probably should have stopped him. Another kid was miscommunication between he and I. He thought I was saying ‘Go’ and I was telling him ‘No.’

“A lot of those things are going to get cleaned up. They’ve played five or six games already, and this was our first.”

Eisenstein and Shaun Hunt led Webb City’s eight-hit attack with two each and William Hayes, Cy Darnell, Kaylor Darnell, and Kenley Hood combined for the other four with one hit each.

Hayes and Cy Darnell picked up RBI and Gage Chapman and Sam Weller scored the runs.

“I felt good about some at-bats,” Doennig said. “Obviously, this is how it is early in the year, you have some bad at-bats, you have some good ones, and you try and go from there. It wasn’t a great day to hit, but we had eight hits and we got to feel good about that.”

Kaylor Darnell took the loss with four runs (three earned) allowed on four hits over three innings with five strikeouts and one walk, while relievers Landon Fletcher and Hunter Shull each gave Webb City two scoreless innings in the middle and later portions of the contest.

Fletcher struck out three and Shull fanned two, and neither walked a batter during their four innings of work. They kept Webb City in the game and gave the Cardinals a chance to win.

“I thought our pitchers did pretty well holding them down for the most part,” Doennig said. “Kaylor probably didn’t have his best stuff, he didn’t do a great job of getting ahead early, but he battled back and kept guys at bay. Fletcher and Hunter Shull did a great job coming in relief, and that’s what we need from those guys…come in and get outs.”

The Cardinals, 0-1 overall, return to action Saturday on the road against Rogersville.

“I’ve said this a lot,” Doennig said. “I’m not a believer in scheduling easy opponents and whatnot. Tough games are going to benefit you in the long run. This is a tough first game for us and it’s not going to get any easier (Saturday). We’re going to play Rogersville. They’re always good, extremely well-coached, and I know their kids are going to be ready to play. We’re going to have to show up ready to play. It’s going to be another cold one.”

BASEBALL: Bishop McGuinness scores late run to beat Joplin in season opener

WEBB CITY, Mo. — The Joplin Eagles opened the 2023 season with the Bishop McGuinness (Oklahoma) Irish in a high-quality game that featured timely hitting, solid pitching, sound baserunning and sometimes spectacular defensive plays on Friday at Chuck Barnes Field.

Ultimately, Bishop McGuinness came out of Friday’s doubleheader with a sweep of conference rivals Webb City and Joplin, defeating the latter 4-3 in the nightcap with the winning run scored on a wild pitch in the top of the seventh.

“That’s the thing, it’s opening day for us and you can’t ask for a better baseball game,” Joplin coach Kyle Wolf said. “There were special plays being made and I thought, overall, we did some really good things. Obviously, with it being the first game of the year, there’s some things we need to clean up that we’re going to do later in the year that will give us a chance to win that game. I was proud of the way that we competed, and we had a chance. That’s all you can ask for against a good team.”

The Eagles fell behind 2-0 early on after Bishop McGuinness pushed across one in the first and one in the third.

Joplin scored all three runs in the fourth with a RBI triple by Layten Copher, a RBI single by Landon Maples, and a go-ahead RBI single by Byler Reither, as the Eagles started to find a spark offensively the second time against Bishop McGuinness starter Jackson Cassil.

“Finally started to string something together a little bit,” Wolf said. “It really started the inning before with Caden Shoemaker coming up and getting the first hit of the game, and that broke that seal a little bit. Guys worked some good at-bats too, and I thought we had a good approach through those middle innings at the plate. Early on, I didn’t think we had a good approach and later on, I thought we got out of that. That’s something we’re going to talk about and improve on.”

Bishop McGuinness scored one run in the fifth and the final run in the seventh for the win.

The Irish made a pair of outstanding late defensive plays that helped earn them that win.

In the sixth, with two outs and the bases loaded for the Eagles, second baseman Cassil made a stop in the hole on a ball that got past the first baseman and he threw on to a covering pitcher Ben Corley for the out and the preserved 3-all score.

In the seventh, Copher hit a hard single to left field, but left fielder Peter Bilicki got to the ball quickly and fired a strike to Cassil for the first out against Copher and the Eagles.

“That’s just great baseball, that play at first base with the pitcher being there and the second baseman didn’t give up on the play,” Wolf said. “He made a good throw and that’s a good runner with Justin McReynolds running down the line. He had to get rid of it quick.

“I thought defensively both teams were good and made some amazing plays for this early in the year. That’s something that is certainly an exciting part of this game, to see what we did defensively, and I thought we pitched really well, both Justin and Alex (Isbell) for their first outings of the year.”

Isbell took the loss in relief, and he allowed two runs (one earned) on one hit over three innings with four strikeouts and two walks, while starter McReynolds allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits with six strikeouts and two walks over the first four innings.

Copher and Shoemaker each had two hits to spark the Eagles’ nine-hit attack and Reither, Brady Mails, McReynolds, Jackson Queen, and Landon Maples each had one hit.

McReynolds, Copher, and Maples each scored a run and Reither, McReynolds, and Shoemaker each stole a base.

The Eagles played Bishop McGuinness, a Catholic school in Oklahoma City, presumably for the first time ever.

“It was kind of a fluke deal,” Wolf said. “They had contacted some people down in this area because they’re playing down in Wyandotte (Okla.) tomorrow and were just looking for some opportunities. Certainly, that’s a great opportunity for opening night. Wish it was a little bit warmer, but whenever the game’s competitive there at the end, I didn’t notice the cold too much and baseball is baseball then.”

Joplin, 0-1 overall, returns to the field on Tuesday at home against St. Mary’s Colgan (Kansas).

STATE HOOPS: Carl Junction advances to title game by beating Notre Dame

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Carl Junction girls basketball team will have an opportunity to make history on Saturday night. 

Carl Junction built a nine-point cushion in the second half and held on late for a 37-33 victory over Notre Dame (Cape Girardeau) on Friday night in a semifinal contest of the MSHSAA Class 5 Show-Me Showdown inside the Hammons Student Center.

After a 25th straight win, Carl Junction (30-1) will meet Lutheran St. Charles (26-5) in the state title game at 8 p.m. Saturday inside Great Southern Bank Arena. 

“Getting to the state championship game has been a goal all year long for us, so it feels pretty good,” Carl Junction coach Brad Shorter said. “It’s kind of surreal right now, but we still have some work to do. We want to win the thing. Hopefully we can come out and play better tomorrow. We’re certainly going to have to bring the offense tomorrow night.” 

Carl Junction High School has never won a state championship in a team sport. On Saturday night, the Bulldogs will attempt to be the first to pull off the feat.

“It would mean everything to us,” senior guard Klohe Burk said when asked about the possibility of winning a state title. “We’ve all put in so much hard work. It’s kind of emotional honestly…we’ve all worked so hard for this.”

Hali Shorter looks for an open teammate during Friday’s Class 5 semifinal. Photo by Sloan Uebinger.

“We want to win it for the community, and we want to win it for each other,” senior guard Hali Shorter said. “We have a lot of fun playing basketball together, so more than anything, we just want to win it for each other.” 

“It would mean a lot to us because our freshman year we got the season cut off because of covid,” senior guard Destiny Buerge said. “Winning this would mean a lot to them (2020 team) also. We’ve worked hard for every CJ team that has been to this point.” 

As far as Friday’s semifinal clash between Bulldogs, Coach Shorter noted his team didn’t have its best performance, but they did enough to survive and advance.

“That’s a really good team and a really physical team we just played,” Shorter said. “They play hard, and we knew they would. Their length bothered us all night long and they did some really nice things. I didn’t feel like our team played particularly well, and a lot of that has to do with them and what they did to us. But we were able to go on a few runs here and there.” 

Carl Junction gained some separation by scoring the final seven points of the third period, taking a 34-25 lead heading into the final frame.

“That was big,” Coach Shorter said. “Against a team like that, you’ve got to go on any runs that you can. That was huge. It gave us a little cushion.”

At the same time, Carl Junction never let Notre Dame put together a significant spurt.

“Teams in the Final Four are going to go on runs,” Coach Shorter said. “We had to get after it defensively and stop that from happening. That was a big piece. I thought our kids played tough tonight. They didn’t play particularly well, but we played tough and that’s what we needed to do to get to the championship game.”

Carl Junction didn’t exactly finish strong. In fact, Carl Junction managed just three points in the fourth period, but the Bulldogs never relinquished their lead.

“It feels really awesome, but I think we’re all in shock right now from that game,” Hali Shorter said. “We didn’t play our best, but I think our defense won the game for us tonight. Hopefully tomorrow night our offense can match the defensive intensity we had tonight.” 

“It was definitely a physical game,” Buerge added. “They played hard, and they wanted it just as much as we did. They played more physical than we did, but we just had to play through it.” 

Carl Junction seniors Hali Shorter, Destiny Buerge and Klohe Burk celebrate their semifinal victory over Notre Dame on Friday night inside the Hammons Student Center. Photo by Sloan Uebinger.


Both teams got off to a slow start, as neither squad scored in the first four minutes of the contest.

Carl Junction outscored Notre Dame 10-5 in the second half of the opening frame. 

Buerge and sophomore forward Dezi Williams scored four points apiece, while junior forward Kylie Scott contributed a hoop in the paint.

Burk knocked down a corner trey early in the second period to give Carl Junction a 13-5 lead, their biggest of the first half, but Notre Dame responded with a pair of treys of their own.

Carl Junction was clinging to a one-point lead when Scott scored back-to-back hoops in the paint for a 20-15 cushion.

After Notre Dame pulled within two late in the half, Scott buried a 3-pointer from the left wing, her ninth point of the half, giving her team a 23-18 halftime advantage. 

Carl Junction made 10-of-21 field goal attempts in the first half (48 percent), but went just 2-for-8 from beyond the arc.

Notre Dame shot 30 percent in the first half (6-for-20), including 4-for-9 from 3-point range.

Klohe Burk plays defense against Notre Dame on Friday night. Photo by Sloan Uebinger.


Carl Junction and Notre Dame traded buckets for most of the third period.

Carl Junction separated with their crucial surge at the end of the third frame, as Scott hit a 3-pointer, Buerge scored in transition after a Notre Dame turnover and Williams converted a putback inside for a 34-25 advantage heading into the final frame.

“Getting settled in was important for us,” Coach Shorter said. “Once we did, we did some nice things in the middle quarters.” 

Down nine, their biggest deficit of the night, Notre Dame scored the first four points of the fourth quarter. On the other end, Carl Junction turned the ball over on three of four possessions.

However, Carl Junction never surrendered its lead. 

Buerge hit one free throw and Scott scored inside after an offensive rebound for a 37-29 cushion.

While Carl Junction struggled with turnovers down the stretch, Notre Dame scored two unanswered hoops to trim the deficit to four with 50 seconds remaining.

Neither team scored the rest of the way, as both squads had empty possessions.

“From two and a half minutes to 17 seconds left we went kind of scatter-brained a little bit,” Coach Shorter said. “We didn’t have the poise we’ve had. Hopefully we can clean up that nonsense we had late.”

Down four, Notre Dame missed a 3-pointer with seven seconds remaining, and Carl Junction controlled the rebound and ran out the clock.

“What a game,” Notre Dame coach Kirk Boeller said. “Two really good basketball teams. I’m so proud of how we attacked. We never backed down from the No. 1 team in the state. Credit to our girls for fighting until that last buzzer went off. We came up short, but I think that was one of the best games we’ve played in a long time.”

The Carl Junction girls basketball team celebrates after beating Notre Dame (Cape Girardeau) on Friday night in the Class 5 semifinals. Photo by Sloan Uebinger.


Carl Junction made 15-of-39 field goal attempts (39 percent) but went just 3-for-13 on 3-pointers. 

The 6-3 Scott led Carl Junction with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting. She also compiled 12 rebounds and six blocked shots.

Coach Shorter noted Scott provided a formidable presence inside.

“Kylie does a terrific job inside,” Coach Shorter said. “She has all year long. Kylie can patrol the middle. She did a really good job of going straight up, contesting shots and getting quite a few blocks or tips. That was a big key in the game tonight.” 

Williams also had a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards. 

Buerge was limited to seven points, but contributed five steals, five rebounds and three assists. 

Burk rounded out the scoring with five points.

Carl Junction had 19 turnovers to Notre Dame’s 15. 

Notre Dame made 12-of-47 shots (26 percent), with 6-for-21 from beyond the arc.

Freshman forward Nevaeh Cortez-Lucious led Notre Dame with 12 points and freshman guard Brie Rubel added nine points.

In Friday’s second Class 5 semifinal, Lutheran St. Charles knocked off defending champion West Plains 71-50.

Notre Dame (23-6) will take on West Plains (23-8) for third place at noon on Saturday. 

Carl Junction coach Brad Shorter and seniors Destiny Buerge, Hali Shorter and Klohe Burk answer questions during Friday’s postgame press conference. Photo by Lucas Davis.


Carl Junction also played for a state championship in 2018. That year, the Bulldogs fell to Incarnate Word in the Class 4 title game. 

On Saturday, Carl Junction’s girls basketball program will get another shot at making history. 

“It would mean a lot to us to get our only state title in Carl Junction history,” Coach Shorter said. “It feels good to get back in this game. I’m just proud of these kids.”


FULL STATS: MSHSAA 2022-2023 Class 5 Girls Basketball State Tournament Matchup: Notre Dame (Cape Girardeau) vs. Carl Junction