Nevada Daily Mail
On an evening that was filled with mixed emotions, the Nevada Lady Tigers softball team rekindled an old and storied rivalry as they took to Bushwhacker Field for the final time in the regular season against the Lady Cardinals of Webb City.
Thursday night's contest brought mixed emotions for both the near-capacity crowd of spectators as well as the players and coaches for Nevada as it was not only the final regular season home game, but also Senior Night. On a wet, but playable field that required massive amounts of work from a number of parents and the entire Nevada Lady Tigers softball staff, the Lady Tigers made it a game through the first five innings, but a talented Webb City lineup came to life late in the contest and ultimately came out on top of a decision that was much more one-sided than the game as a whole.
After the game, seniors Ashley Shumaker, Victoria Culbertson, Mackenzie Pritchett and Christian Novak were all honored for their time with the Lady Tigers team. Those four players are the only seniors on the Lady Tigers' roster and hoped to finish their regular season home careers on a high note, but that didn't quite come to fruition as Webb City's bats came to life late and the Lady Cardinals took the victory by a final score of 8-0.
Both teams came into the evening as second seeds in their respective districts and the contest looked just as close as that stat would imply through the first four innings. Both Novak and Webb City starter Kaitlin Beason were able to shut down the opposition almost completely, allowing a total of just five hits and no runs between them through the first half of the game.
The Lady Cardinals did threaten as they were able to get to Novak just a bit in the top of the third with three hits, but thanks to a popup that she was able to turn into an inning-ending double play, Novak was able to get out of the frame with no damage. The Lady Tigers stayed with a strong Webb City squad, but Beason's dominant performance was simply too much as she didn't allow a baserunner until Carsten Warner got the Lady Tigers' first hit of the night in the top of the fourth inning.
Beason continued her dominant performance right through the rest of the game and ultimately finished allowing just four hits with seven strikeouts in a shutout effort to improve her record on the season to 10-2 and the Lady Cardinals' overall mark to 17-4. Things didn't go quite as well for Novak and the Lady Tigers, however, as Emily Harris got Webb City on the board in the top of the sixth inning as she ripped a double over the heads of the Nevada defense with one out and the bases loaded.
The Lady Cardinals went on to score a total of five runs on five hits and an error in the frame to take a 5-0 lead into the seventh inning. That was more than enough to put the game away, but Webb City's offense wasn't done just yet and the Lady Cardinals touched Novak for three more runs in the top of the seventh inning, leading to the final score of 8-0.
Novak ultimately finished the game allowing eight runs -- all earned -- on 11 hits with eight strikeouts and three walks.
With that loss, the Lady Tigers' record fell to 12-7. The regular season will officially come to a close with the Carthage Invitational tournament that is scheduled for today and tomorrow.
The Lady Tigers will begin postseason play on Thursday, Oct. 4, when they face either Clinton or Holden in the district tournament semifinals in Warrensburg, Mo., at 7 p.m., with a trip to the district championship game on the line.