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Kelly softball team wins 13-0 rout to reach final four
BENTON, Mo. -- The Kelly Hawks earned another trip to state with a blowout win over the Hartville Eagles on Saturday.
The Hawks displayed a complete team effort in dismantling the Eagles 13-0 in five innings, invoking the 10-run rule in the Class 2 quarterfinal game.
A 12-hit offense complemented one-hit pitching and flawless defense as the Hawks improved to 22-4.
Hartville ended its season at 19-6.
The revived offense, in particular, drew praise from Kelly coach Rhonda Ratledge, who is taking her 10th team to the state final four.
"It was so exciting," Ratledge said about the Hawks' offensive explosion. "I knew they had it in 'em, but we've had a few games where we faltered a little bit with the bats, but they were starting to come back alive against Twin Rivers [a 12-1 sectional win] and then today. We're doing it when it counts."
Four Hawks pounded multiple hits, led by Morgan LeDure's three singles. Jade Rampley, Kristi Brucker and Sydney Vinyard had two hits apiece.
Vinyard, one of only four seniors on the roster, is returning to the state tournament for the second time.
"I feel absolutely fantastic," Vinyard said. "We really believe in ourselves. It was a great day of ball."
Sophomores Samantha Ratledge and LeDure led the run producers with three RBIs each.
Ratledge's three-run shot over the 200-foot sign in straightaway center field in the second inning upped the lead to 5-0 and ignited the rout.
"I just wanted to get a piece of it because I knew I had to bring those runs home," Samantha Ratledge said.
The Hawks tacked on a single run in the third inning, exploded for five in the fourth and closed out the scoring with two in the fifth.
Jessica Worth, a senior and a three-year starter, added, "We worked as a team all year, and I'm so proud of my girls. We stuck it out. We can hit up and down our lineup, and that's what we needed this year."
Meanwhile, the Hawks were blanking the Eagles behind the one-hit pitching of freshman Alexis Dock, who went four innings with nine strikeouts and two walks.
Brucker relieved with one hitless inning.
"I'm so proud of these girls," Rhonda Ratledge said. "We've got a roster of 15 girls, and 10 of them are freshmen and sophomores. A lot of these girls haven't been to the final four so this is something new for them to get a taste of it and, hopefully, see some more in the future."
Kelly meets Brookfield (25-5) in the state semifinal at 11 a.m. Friday in Springfield, Mo.
The other semifinal pits Pleasant Hope (26-2) against Palmyra (25-4).
Kelly 13, Hartville 0
WP -- Alexis Dock. LP -- Alex Wollard. HR -- Samantha Ratledge (K). 2B -- Jade Rampley 2 (K), Dock (K), Kristi Brucker (K), Sydney Vinyard (K). Multiple hits: Kelly, Morgan LeDure 3-3, Rampley 2-3, Brucker 2-3, Vinyard 2-3. Records -- Kelly 22-4, Hartville 19-6.