ANDERSON — The McDonald County Lady Mustangs ran their record to 16-2 overall with their 5-1 victory Tuesday over conference and district rival Monett.
McDonald County and Monett battled for a district championship last season and the Lady Mustangs prevailed 15-14 in a wild-and-crazy game on a Kylie Helm two-run home run.
There was no hysterics or pyrotechnics quite like that district title game on Tuesday, as McDonald County scored one run in the first, three in the fourth, and one in the sixth before Monett pushed across its only run in the seventh.
However, McDonald County wrapped up its second Big 8 Conference title in a row with the win.
McDonald County power pitcher Madeline McCall overpowered Monett with one run allowed (earned) on three hits with 11 strikeouts and no walks over seven innings. McCall finished at 76 pitches, 63 of which counted as strikes.
Rita Santillan led the Lady Mustangs with a pair of hits — highlighted by a solo home run — and a pair of runs scored. Alexa Hopkins also had two hits, plus one run scored and one RBI. McCall supported herself with a RBI double. Hopkins, McDonald County’s other pitcher, also doubled.
Ashley Kurima tripled and scored on Caitlyn Calhoun’s single in the seventh. Before that, though, Monett had just a single hit against McCall with a single by Amberlyn Schmidly.
McCall kept Monett’s dangerous leadoff hitter Kaesha George in check — George went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts.
McDonald County and Monett both play this weekend in the 20th annual Carthage Invitational. The Lady Mustangs open at 2 p.m. Friday against Stoutland, while the Lady Cubs take a bye and will play the winner of the Jefferson City and East Newton.
McDonald County and Monett both earned the top two seeds and the opening round byes for the upcoming Class 3, District 12 tournament hosted by Aurora. The Lady Mustangs will receive the winner of Carl Junction and Aurora in the semifinals. No. 3 Seneca and No. 6 Cassville round out the field of predominantly Big 8 Conference schools.