Lady Raiders hit 8 home runs in sweep of Mineral Area

Lady Raiders hit 8 home runs in sweep of Mineral Area

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. - Three Rivers coach Jeff Null lost count of how many home runs the Raiders hit.

Makale Floyd had her first of the season. Emma Keen had two in the same inning. The Raiders hit five in one inning, including back-to-back-to-back by the bottom three spots in the lineup.

"That was fun. Some of the people who don't get to swing it as often got in there, and they ended up having big days," Null said. "We hit the ball like we're capable of against that pitching."

With a moderate wind blowing straight out to left field, the already hard-hitting Raiders had eight home runs Tuesday, beating Mineral Area 10-0 in the opener and 20-0 in the nightcap Tuesday at McLane Park. Both games went five innings.

"We didn't play down to their level, and that was the main thing I was concerned about. The pitchers put up two (shutouts), the hitters hit a ton, and that's about all you can ask for," Null said.

Kindi Puckett and Makayla Bryant earned wins in the circle. Both pitched four innings, with Makenna Moore pitching the fifth in each game.

Puckett allowed one hit and two walks with six strikeouts, and Bryant allowed three hits and a walk with two strikeouts.

In two combined innings, Bryant had three strikeouts. She hit the only batter to reach base against her.

Lauren Joyner had a home run in each game to give her a team-leading 11 for the season.

Kyla Puckett had a two-run home run as Three Rivers scored four runs in the opener's first inning. It was her fourth home run of the season.

The Raiders (21-1) added three more runs in the second and fourth innings to run-rule the Cardinals (4-24), who are a non-region, Division II team in softball.

Brianna Everett was 3 for 3 with a home run, four RBIs and two runs in the opener.

Molly Spangler scored three times and was 2 for 3 with a pair of singles.

The Raiders led 3-0 after two innings in the second game and then batted around in both the third and fourth innings.

"That pitcher that started, she was throwing a lot of drop balls and kept the ball down. We hit the ball hard ... and I thought we're on it. We'll get a pitch up and elevate it a little bit more," Null said. "I was proud. They weren't trying to do too much with that pitch. They hit it where it was pitched. We made some adjustments today. It was good to see. We've talked a lot about that."

Nobody hit a home run in the third inning, but nine of the first 10 batters safely reached base. With the bases loaded and one out, the Cardinals got a pair of fielder's choices to end the inning after giving up seven runs.

Leading 10-0, Null subbed out the first three batters due up, and subbing in Floyd, Keen and Cayton Sloan.

All three hit solo home runs to kickstart a nine-run fourth inning and roll things over to the top of the lineup.

Soon after, Joyner had a three-run homer. After Gracie Thomas singled, Floyd stepped back up to the plate and drew a walk.

With two on and two out, Keen homered again to get four RBIs in the fourth inning.

While leadoff hitter Jaime Lee didn't have a home run, she did go 3 for 3 with two runs and four RBIs.

As a team, the Raiders have now hit 58 home runs in 22 games, with 15 players getting at least one.

"We had a good, intense practice yesterday just to get them focused back up (after Easter weekend), and they came out today and played focused," Null said. "They had a little fun. Hopefully, we can keep it going."


Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic