Malden softball team beats Kennett 7-2 to secure Bootheel Conference regular-season title

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Photo by Dustin Ward, staff
The Malden softball team celebrates winning the Bootheel Conference regular-season title Tuesday afternoon at Kennett.

KENNETT, Mo. - The Malden Green Wave softball team jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning and never looked back as it locked up the Bootheel Conference regular-season title by beating Kennett 7-2 Tuesday afternoon.

“We’ve kind of been up and down,” Malden softball coach Angela Rodgers said. “I think today was our time to solidify we can be a presence and go do things. Kennett is a great team. They always are and we always know we are in for great competition when we play them. But our girls showed up and really wanted it today."

The victory came about 24 hours after Malden edged Senath-Hornersville 13-11 Monday.

“Yesterday we did not play well,” Rodgers added. “Today we showed up and played the way we know we can play.”

Malden starting pitcher Hope Hartman had a comfortable lead to work with before she ever took to the circle.

Malden scored its first run after Lana Reed drew a one-out walk, stole second and scored on an infield error. The Green Wave tallied three additional runs in the top of the first inning when Baylee Johnson collected an RBI hit with the bases loaded.

Malden added two unearned runs in the top of the third inning to increase its lead to 6-0. Kennett committed three of its four errors in the frame. Baylee Johnson, who finished 2 for 3 with a team-high four RBIs, collected the only RBI in the top of the third when she drove home a runner from third base on a groundout.

The Kennett offense finally made noise when it loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the third inning after Meagan Pickens collected a leadoff single, Madi Parr drew a walk and Kayton Harris reached base on an outfield error. Sydni McAtee followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to cut the deficit to 6-1. Malden starting pitcher Hope Hartman escaped additional damage when she struck out the next two hitters to end the third.

A one-out RBI single by Madison Saulsberry padded Malden’s lead to 7-1 in the top of the sixth inning.

Kennett loaded the bases again in the bottom of the seventh inning after Harris reached on an infield error, Duncan collected a one-out single and Emillie Johnson was hit by pitch. Caroline Byers followed with an RBI single to right field to cut the deficit to the final score. Hartman once again escaped additional damage when she struck out the final two hitters of the frame with the bases loaded.

Hartman allowed two unearned runs, seven hits, struck out six and walked five in seven innings of work. She threw 129 pitches.

“Awesome,” Rodgers said. “That’s probably the best game she has thrown this year. She’s a freshman and has a lot to work on but we are super proud of her. She hit her spots all day.”

Kennett stranded 13 runners on the base paths.

“We had opportunities,” Kennett coach Laurie Vaughan said. “We had the bases loaded in multiple innings and just didn’t get the big hits at the right time. Give credit to Malden because they played a good defensive game and kept us off our game. I will say we did not have our best game today. Malden came ready to play and just flat out beat us. I hate it for our seniors on Senior Day. You never want to lose a game but I’d rather lose to them now than in the conference championship or later on in the season. Today is just a test for us to see what we can overcome.”

Parr pitched all seven innings for Kennett. She allowed seven runs (five earned), struck out three and walked two. Parr threw 88 pitches.

Pickens finished 3 for 4 and Duncan was 2 for 3.

Kennet honored its six seniors - Meagan Pickens, Kamryn Nelson, Hailee Potts, Whitnee Duncan, Madi Parr and Kayton Harris - before the start of their final regular-season home game.

“They have a lot of heart and love for this game,” Vaughan said. “It breaks my heart they had to lose this game and not have their best game on Senior Day. But the season is not over and I know they will bounce back from this because they are leaders, competitors and hard workers. They started their high school career with a state championship their freshman season and would love to end with another, and I’d love for them to be able to have that. They’ve continually done everything I’ve asked them to do and I cannot say enough about them. I don’t want to say I’m going to miss them yet because I’m not ready to let them go, but I’m very proud of them for their love for this game and contributions to this team.”

Pictured left to right Kennett seniors Meagan Pickens, Madi Parr, Hailee Potts, Kamryn Nelson, Kayton Harris and Whitnee Duncan were honored before the start of their final high school softball game against Malden Tuesday at Indian Park.

Malden (11-1) will look to finish Bootheel Conference regular-season play 7-0 when it hosts Caruthersville Thursday.

Kennett (7-3) finishes Bootheel Conference play 6-1. The Indians visit Oran Thursday.

Malden and Kennett will also both compete in the Old Settlement Tournament Friday and Saturday at Ste. Genevieve and Park Hills.

“We are going to be seeing some really good teams and we’ve got to be ready for it,” Vaughan said. “We want to see the good teams and see how we matchup with them. The ultimate goal is to get to the postseason and see how we can compete.”

A schedule for the tournament is available here: Old Settlement Tournament

Malden 7, Kennett 2

MHS 402 001 0 - 7 8 2

KHS 001 000 1 - 2 7 4

WP - Hope Hartman. LP - Madi Parr. 2B - Katie Shuffler (M), Gracie Thomas (M). Multiple hits - Malden: Baylee Johnson 2-3; Kennett: Meagan Pickens 3-4, Whitnee Duncan 2-4.

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