In their Region XVI opening round, the Raiders hit seven homers and scored 24 runs to advance to the final four. Second-seeded Three Rivers won the opener against seventhseeded Metropolitan 15-6 and the nightcap 9-1 on Saturday at McLane Park. Three Rivers will now face third-seeded North Central on Friday in Hillsboro, Mo.
"We prepared for that pitcher. We came out. Then we hit three home runs the first inning," Three Rivers coach Jeff Null said. "We stuck to the game plan, and we cruised that first game. Gave up a few runs there at the end, but it is easy to letdown when you're up 13-0 in the fourth inning." The Raiders lost both their games against North Central, 12-4 and 6-5, and did not finish the four-game series after region coaches chose to end the regular season on April 27. A makeup doubleheader was initially scheduled against North Central for later in the week.
Three Rivers starting pitchers Kindi Puckett and Makale Floyd allowed five total hits over 10 innings. Puckett retired the first eight batters she faced, with four strikeouts along the way. Metropolitan's No. 9 hitter Alexis Parra, who singled with two outs, broke up her perfect game. Puckett allowed another single in the fourth to face two over the minimum through four innings. With Three Rivers leading 13-0 after four innings, Cayton Sloan pitched the fifth. Metropolitan got its first five batters on base, helped along by a Three Rivers error that got Metropolitan its first run, and pinchhitter Cailin Carder got the Wolves on the scoreboard with a three-run home run. Parra made it back-to-back homers with a solo shot, and Kaley Kumpf added one more solo home run with two outs. Three Rivers hit five home runs in the game, including three-run homers by Brianna Everett and Zoe Bisby. Fayth Rakes and Kyla Puckett got two-run homers, and Lauren Joyner got a solo shot for her 20th home run of the season. Joyner is now one home run shy of Allison Pingel's single-season record of 21, set in 2018. Ten different Raiders scored, with Everett and Bisby each getting five RBIs. Kyla Puckett was 3 for 3 with a run and two RBIs and now has 14 home runs on the season.
In the nightcap, Floyd had a no-hitter going through 4 2/3 innings. She gave up a walk in the second and a single with two outs in the fourth. Leadoff hitter Kiana Williams had a solo home run in the sixth for the Wolves' lone run, and Floyd finished with three hits, no walks, and nine strikeouts over six innings. The Three Rivers offense started slower than it did in the opener and led 1-0 after two innings. "It took us a couple of innings to get going in the second game. Our approach was the problem early," Null said. "Finally, we started making a few adjustments." Jamie Lee cracked things open with a grand slam in the third for her 13th home run of the season, and Everett hit her 14th in the bottom of the sixth for a two run walk-off. "It comes down to focus. They got up big early the first game and letdown a little bit in between games and came out a little flat to start. But they picked it back up," Null said. "A nice way to end it." She and Gracie Thomas each had two hits. Everett finished with three RBIs, and Thomas had one.
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic