Semoball

East Carter cheerleaders on softball team set for long weekend of state competition

The East Carter softball teams waits for the start of the national anthem prior to the MSHSAA Class 2 sectional playoff on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, at Rains Field at Three Rivers College in Poplar Bluff, Mo.
DAR/Brian Rosener

It will be a busy weekend for five East Carter softball players.

First, the Redbirds will play in the MSHSAA Class 2 quarterfinal in Elsberry at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Then, Kennedy Thies, Audrey Carter, P.J. Gholson, Makenna Moore and Abagail Dinsmore will head to St. Francis Borgia High School in Washington, Missouri with the East Carter cheerleading squad to perform in the MCCA regional on Sunday.

The Redbirds finished fourth at state in softball last year and are the two-time defending 1A Small team state champions in cheerleading.

“One thing I’m worried about is rain,” East Carter softball coach Teresa Kearbey-LeGrand said of a 70% chance of rain in the forecast.

If all goes as planned, two buses will depart Ellsinore and make the three-plus hour trip north to Elsberry. One bus will have the softball team while the second bus will have the cheer team and other students. Following the game, one bus will take the cheer team to Washington while the rest of the softball team and fans return to Ellsinore.

The logistics of getting everybody to Elsberry, located near the Mississippi River north of St. Louis on Highway 79, might be easier than scouting the Indians.

“It’s difficult,” Kearbey-LeGrand said.

Most teams at this stage have good pitching and can hit, she said.

“I’m not real worried about us adjusting to the pitching but I’d like to be more prepared,” Kearbey-LeGrand added.

Elsberry (12-7) advanced to the quarterfinal with a 9-8 win in eight innings Wednesday at Bishop DuBourg. The Indians claimed their first district title since 2012 by earning the top seed in District 4 and knocking off second-seeded Valley Park 9-8 in the final.

The Indians were up 3-0 after three innings in Wednesday’s playoff before falling behind 4-3. Both teams scored twice in the fifth before Elsberry tied the game in the seventh and took the lead with a passed ball in the eighth.

First-year coach Levi Jacyna’s roster features no seniors.

Junior pitcher Kylie Kinsler struck out seven over 5 1/3 innings Wednesday while freshman Addyson Steele also appeared in the circle.

The Indians average 7.5 runs a game led by junior Tyra Henderson’s four home runs and 22 RBIs while hitting .450. Kinsler is hitting .365 with 18 RBIs while junior Morgan Jones has driven in 19 runs and hitting .333. Tynesha Henderson, a junior, leads the team in runs and walks while hitting .325.

Elsberry, which was 7-3 at home this fall, is appearing in the state quarterfinal for the second time in program history but has never reached a final four.

East Carter is looking to make its second straight trip to state and has yet to give up a run in 17 postseason innings. The Redbirds have outscored opponents 29-0 in the last three games while allowing just five hits and 10 total base runners. Moore has struck out 26 and given up two walks and hit two batters while extending a scoreless streak to 28 innings.

“Our defense has been spot on,” Kearbey-LeGrand said. “I think they have a lot of confidence going into this game and that’s going to be a huge asset.”

The game will be played at Elsberry Khoury League Fields, 1036-1042 State Hwy. B. Admission is $7.

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