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Kelly softball team routs Twin Rivers 12-1, earns berth in class 2 state quarterfinals
POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- Just two years removed from their last appearance in the state's final four, the Kelly Hawks took another big step Wednesday toward a return appearance to high school softball's biggest stage.
Able to shake off a rough start against Twin Rivers in Class 2 sectional play, the Hawks went on to combine for 14 hits while getting a brilliant pitching performance from freshman Alexis Dock to mercy-rule the Royals 12-1 in five innings at Three Rivers College.
"Even though a month ago we beat them 9-0 that doesn't mean you come into this type of game right here and still expect to do that," Kelly coach Rhonda Ratledge said. "Within a months time they've gotten better and everybody is excited to be here. So teams that reach this point usually have the game of their life.
"That's what I kept telling the girls. You have to get in there and earn it. So when Twin Rivers started making errors that kind of got the ball rolling and we had a couple runs, that was key for us."
Though the final score shows the game to be a rout, the Hawks had plenty to worry about early on as a single and triple in Twin Rivers' first two at bats resulted in quick run.
Wasting little time, Kelly (21-4) called its co-ace Dock to the mound to spell starter Kristi Brucker with a runner on third and one out.
In one of the highest pressure situation of her young career, Dock went on to hold the Royals scoreless the rest of the first frame before finishing the night throwing 4 2/3 innings of perfect ball. Though she didn't collect a strikeout Dock retired all 15 batters faced, in order, before the mercy rule took effect.
With Brucker known for her control and Dock more for power, Ratledge said it was the Hawks plan all along to utilize both pitchers against Twin Rivers.
"A month ago Kristi had threw against Twin Rivers and held them extremely well," Ratledge said of her sophomore starter. "She kept them off balance a little bit. So our game plan was to throw here three or four innings and then bring Alexis in towards the end."
While Dock and Kelly's defense held the Royals' offense at bay the Hawks bats more than made up for any early deficit they may have collected.
Starting with leadoff hitter Samantha Ratledge reaching on an error, five straight Kelly hitters reached based in the top of the bottom of the first frame as the Hawks manufactured the first of back-to-back three-run rallies.
Samantha Ratledge came around to score on a bunt by Dock and before the at bat was over the go-ahead run had scored also when Morgan LeDure came home as Dock forced a play at second base.
By the end of the inning the Lady Hawks had taken a 3-1 advantage on an RBI groundout to short by Brucker.
On a night where the Hawks got production from every spot in their lineup Dock added to her pitching performance by going 3 for 4 at the plate with four RBIs.
Samantha Ratledge also had a three-hit performance.
With the win Kelly now stands one win away from another trip to the final four. They'll host Hartville (19-5), which beat Houston 6-2, in the quarterfinals on Saturday at a time to be determined.
WP -- Alexis Dock. LP -- Brooke Madison. Multiple hits: Kelly: Samantha Ratledge 3-4, Morgan LeDure 2-4, Alexis Dock 3-4, Stephanie Worth 2-3, Jessica Worth 2-3. 2B -- Stephanie Worth (K), Sydney Vinyard (K). 3B -- Maci Shearer (T), Dock (K).