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Friday, May 6, 2016

Kennett claims Bootheel Conference Tournament softball title with 7-3 win against Portageville

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Staff Photo by Dustin Ward
Kennett players celebrate winning the Bootheel Conference softball tournament title.
PORTAGEVILLE, Mo. -- It wasn't a typical day in the circle for Kennett Lady Indians starting pitcher Chandler Essary in Wednesday afternoon's see-saw Bootheel Conference softball championship against the Portageville Lady Bulldogs.

Staff Photo by Dustin Ward
The Kennett infield departs the circle in the first inning.
"Today was very different," Essary said. "I'm not a crier. I've never cried in a game in my life, but I cried four times today. It was an emotional game. This is a game we wanted all year and we finally came and got it. I couldn't be more proud."

Second-seeded Kennett overcame a 1-0 first-inning deficit to take a 3-1 sixth-inning lead and plated four runs in the top of the seventh to break a 3-3 tie on its way to a 7-3 win against top-seeded Portageville in Wednesday's title game.

"The last inning was great," Kennett's only senior Jade Caldwell said. "I knew my team was going to pull through. If you have confidence and say 'I'm the stuff and I can do this' you can pull through and win. I love my teammates and they are a second family for me."

Staff Photo by Dustin Ward
Kennett's Jacky Lockhert takes a swing at a pitch.
Staff Photo by Dustin Ward
Portageville's Lauren Jones takes a swing at a pitch.
Portageville took a 1-0 lead when Jenna Hawkins reached base with a one-out single and eventually scored from third on a wild pitch in the first inning.

Kennett tied the game at one in the top of the third when Essary reached base with a one-out walk and scored on a two-out RBI-triple by Kelsey Washburn.

Neither team recorded a hit after Kennett tied the game in the third until the sixth inning.

Staff Photo by Dustin Ward
Kennett outfielder Kelsey Lawrence fields a ball in foul territory.
Staff Photo by Dustin Ward
Portageville shortstop Alison Pepper makes a play on the infield.
Caldwell reached base with a leadoff walk in the top of the sixth and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kelsey Lawrence. Jacky Lockhert then drove home Caldwell with a one-out RBI-single to give Kennett a 2-1 lead. Lockhert scored on a wild pitch later in the sixth to push Kennett's lead to 3-1.

Portageville's Allison Pepper reached base in the bottom of the sixth with a leadoff single. Hawkins followed Pepper's at-bat with an RBI-double to cut Kennett's lead to 3-2. Hawkins scored later in the inning following a Kennett infield error to tie the game at three.

Staff Photo by Dustin Ward
Kennett's Chandler Essary heads to first base after drawing a walk.
Portageville had the bases loaded with one out and Latavia Harris at the plate following a Kennett error and two walks.

Harris hit a ground ball to Kennett second baseman Taylor Decker. Decker fielded the ball and fired to home plate to collect the second out on a force out at home. Essary collected the final out of the sixth by striking out Portageville's Lauren Jones with the bases loaded.

"We knew if we could pitch and catch the ball our defense was going to deliver," Kennett's catcher Caldwell said. "Taylor did a great job getting the out at home and then all Chandler had to do is get the next K.

"They came back and tied it up," Kennett coach Kevin McCaig added. "They had the bases loaded and we could have shut down. Our tendency in the past was to let one big play lead to another, but we got a big play from Taylor Decker coming home with the ball to get the second out and then Chandler pitched her way out of the bases-loaded jam."

Kennett's Washburn and Logan Vaughan reached base with back-to-back one-out walks in the top of the seventh. Shayla Jansson broke the tie in Kennett's next at-bat with a one-RBI single to the outfield.

Staff Photo by Dustin Ward
Portageville infielders gather to discuss strategy with coach Candice Harper after falling behind late in Wednesday's Bootheel Conference softball championship against Kennett.
"I was nervous and scared," Jansson said of her final at-bat. "I just stayed back, let loose and hit the ball. That's all I could do."

The Lady Indians tacked on three insurance runs before the inning concluded when Lockhert drew an RBI-walk and Decker recorded a two-RBI single.

"They just hit the ball," Portageville coach Candice Harper said. "What can you say. Then when we came up and needed the hits we didn't get them.

"We just waited a little late to get it going offensively," Harper continued. "When they started getting hits the wheels came off a little."

Essary walked the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the seventh, but retired Portageville's next three batters in order to earn a complete-game win. Essary allowed three hits and struck out 11.

Staff Photo by Dustin Ward
Kennett's Jade Caldwell is greeted near the dugout after scoring a run.
"When Kelsey got the hit to tie the game at one I cried," Essary said. "When things were kind of shaky at the plate and I wasn't getting the calls I thought I should have got I got a little emotional. When Taylor Decker threw the runner out a home I cried and then of course I cried when we won."

Hawkins suffered a complete-game loss. Hawkins allowed five hits and struck out nine.

Kennett scored six of its seven runs after the fifth inning.

"We don't see her speed every day so it's hard to simulate what she does," McCaig said. "Until you get your timing down it's tough to hit her. We had strikeouts and pop-ups on the infield the first few innings. Later in the game we got some good pitches to drive. I'm not saying we hit missiles, but we got the bat on the ball and good things happened."

Hawkins was the only batter to record multiple hits, finishing 2 for 4 with one RBI.

"She's really come through with her hitting this year," Harper said. "I pinch-hit for her a lot last year. Her hits were clutch today and I'm really proud of her. She also pitched a good game."

Staff Photo by Dustin Ward
Kennett catcher Jade Caldwell looks into the dugout for a sign.
Caldwell reached base three times. Caldwell walked twice and was hit once.

"The way I take an approach at the plate is from a catcher's standpoint," Caldwell said. "I want to be able to see and think about what the pitcher is going to do because I call pitches myself. I was just trying to be smart at the plate and not just swing at the ball when it was pitched."

Portageville concludes its season with a 13-4 record and won the regular-season Bootheel Conference title.

"We struggled batting today," Harper said. "But I'm extremely proud of them and our season. To place No. 1 in your conference is fantastic and runner-up in your conference tournament is amazing."

Kennett finishes its season with a 16-6 record and the conference tournament championship

"Great way to send Jade out," McCaig said. "She's had a humungous impact on our program. It's something to build on in the offseason and we are looking forward to next season. We've still got 14 underclassmen and four upperclassmen."

No. 2 Kennett 7, No. 1 Portageville 3

KHS 001 002 4 - 7 5 2

PHS 100 002 0 - 3 3 0

WP - Chandler Essary. LP - Jenna Hawkins. 3B - Kelsey Washburn (K). 2B - Hawkins (P). Multiple hits: Portageville: Hawkins 2-4.

Staff Photo by Dustin Ward
The Kennett softball team with its first-place plaque following its 7-3 win against Portageville in the Bootheel Conference Tournament softball championship Wednesday.

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Im not even from Portageville, and no disrespect to Kennett. But this game was not fair, and should be replayed. The umpire's decided the game, and I hate that. The athletes should decide the game. Not the poor umpires that worked this game, congrats to Kennett. But they were given the win.

-- Posted by BigBaller07 on Thu, May 10, 2012, at 1:26 PM

Congratulations Girls! We are so proud of you!!!!!!

-- Posted by softballusfamom on Thu, May 10, 2012, at 3:39 PM

Not sure what game you was watching yesterday BigBaller07 because apparrently it wasnt this game. If you had watched this game you would have noticed quite of few calls that went for Portageville like dropping the ball on a tag for a stolen base that the Kennett girl got called out on. So if your saying that the Refs were for Kennett in this game you must have missed calls like that one.Congrats to the Lady Indians yall played an awesome game.

-- Posted by lwashburn73 on Thu, May 10, 2012, at 3:52 PM

I received a message I listed Portageville record wrong in the story. The head coach informed me after the game Portageville finished the season with a 13-4 record. I have to go with the record the coach provides.

-- Posted by Dustin Ward on Fri, May 11, 2012, at 2:23 PM

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