- Neelys Landing man shot, killed by highway patrol trooper after traffic stop (05/01/16)43
- Cape student sues, accuses school officials of slamming her to ground multiple times (04/28/16)49
- Missouri House votes to allow concealed weapons without permits (04/28/16)8
- River Ridge Winery changes hands (05/02/16)
- Police report filed, but no charges in incident at Cape Central (04/29/16)40
- 2016 All-Missourian Boys Basketball (04/29/16)
- Statement: Man says cops’ good work drove him to grow his own marijuana (05/01/16)1
- Bob Evans restaurant in Cape Girardeau among chain's 21 closings (04/26/16)9
- Senator introduces bill for I-57 that would connect Sikeston with Little Rock (04/28/16)4
- Hopper Road to close for months during construction of Veterans Drive (04/27/16)9
Oran falls to Naylor in district title softball game
POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- Darby Pruett just missed a go-ahead home run in her first at-bat Monday. Given a second chance, the Naylor junior connected.
Pruett's three-run home run in the third inning lifted the Eagles to their fourth consecutive Class 1 District 1 softball title, beating Oran 3-1 at Three Rivers Community College.
"I got a little under it on the first one," said Pruett of her first-inning triple off the left-field fence. "We talked about how she got ahead of everybody when they played [Thursday]. I figured the first pitch would be there."
Oran (13-9) lost in the district final for a third consecutive year but returns all but one player in senior Bailey Carlyle.
"They've got an excellent team," Oran coach Jim Eftink said about Naylor. "They've got a strong pitcher. They've got a shortstop that hits like crazy. Our team thought we could take them, and things just didn't work out that way today."
Pruett was 3 for 3 and a single shy of the cycle, while Ericka Engelman struck out nine and retired the final nine in order after Oran scored in the fourth.
Oran nearly wiggled out of the jam in the third when Taylor Day led off with a single up the middle. After a sacrifice bunt, Oran starting pitcher Tatum May got a strikeout but walked the next hitter.
Anna Jones, who got the win for Oran in the district semifinals, came on to face, Pruett who sent the first pitch she saw over the left-field wall.
Jones got the lone clean single for Oran to open the fourth and later scored on a two-out error.
"We started getting happy after that, but we couldn't hit off her really well," Carlyle said about Engelman. "We're not use to fast pitching."
Addie Kielhofner opened the game by reaching on a bunt that was scored an error. Kielhofner stole second and third, but Engelman struck out three consecutive hitters on 10 pitches.
"That would have set the tone for the whole game," Eftink said. "We didn't get [the bunt] down. We missed an opportunity to get on top and stay on top."
Said Naylor coach Gene Deckard, "That was huge to take the momentum away. We felt like if she scored, they had the upper hand."
Oran also thwarted a two-out rally in the bottom of the first when Pruett sent a pitch high off the left-field fence for a triple. May got a strikeout to end the threat and set down Naylor in order in the second on 10 pitches.
May struck out two, while Jones fanned five straight and walked one in 3 1/3 of relief. Oran's defense also prevented a run from scoring in the sixth when the Eagles cut down a runner at third on Pruett's double.
"We tried to come back, still play good defense," Carlyle said. "They just got ahead of us."
Oran had won five of its last six heading into the final, allowing just six runs during that span with three shutouts.
"It was a really good year," Carlyle said. "I love playing with them."
Naylor advances to play at Dora (18-4) on Wednesday.
WP -- Ericka Engleman (N). LP -- Tatum May (O). HR -- Darby Pruett (N). 3B -- Pruett (N). 2B -- Pruett (N). Multiple hits -- Pruett (N) 3-3. Records -- Oran 13-9. Naylor 18-3.