By Matt Turer — @MattTurer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Each week, OzarksSportsZone.com will release local softball power rankings brought to you by CoxHealth. Like our other power rankings, these rankings will be based on dominance by Class, not head-to-head.
Recent success and strength of schedule are also factored into the rankings. These rankings are through games played on Sept. 6.
Overall record and Class are listed in parenthesis.
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1. Willow Springs (4-0, C2, LW: 1)
The only game for Willow Springs over the past week was a 15-0 win over Bakersfield. Sydney Miller struck out 17 and allowed just one hit over seven innings in that win, improving to 4-0 with a 0.00 ERA, 0.54 WHIP and 52 strikeouts in 26 innings this year. Krysta Rader, Kaitlyn Woody and Miller had four hits apiece in that win.
2. West Plains (6-1, C3, LW: 2)
The Zizzers followed up last week’s 3-2 loss to Camdenton with a 13-1 win over Waynesville last Thursday that saw Karsyn Smith double three times and Abbey Gann strike out nine over five innings. They currently sit in second in the Ozark Conference after Camdenton’s loss to Kickapoo Wednesday.
3. Monett (4-3, C3, LW: 8)
Monett jumps five spots after a 3-0 week that included a 6-4 win over Class 4 Branson and an 11-1 win over Class 3 Cassville. The Cubs have been competitive against top area Class 4 competition all season and the run rule of Cassville is proof of that tough schedule paying off (and proof that the close games meant something). Most importantly, the Cubs are now pitching well. Josie Allcock has allowed just three earned runs over her last 18.2 innings and Kassie McCallister three earned runs over her last 11. Katie Kurima (.538 AVG., 16 SB), Josie Allcock (.583, 11 SB) and Ashley Kurima (.500) have stayed hot, with Katie hitting safely in every game.
4. Webb City (10-1, C4, LW: 5)
Five straight double-digit run-rule wins for Webb City. We knew the Cardinals would be good this year—this is a team loaded with varsity experience—and they’re backing that up. Their most impressive win this week was an 11-0 win over a good Republic team. Four full-timers are batting over .533, led by Mareika Turpen, who’s hitting .636 with nine extra-base hits, 19 runs, 19 RBIs and a 1.821 OPS so far.
5. Kickapoo (9-0, C4, LW: 4)
A 3-2 win over Camdenton Wednesday was a big statement for the Chiefs, who beat the Lakers, Lebanon, Carl Junction and Hillcrest by a combined 28-4 this week. Emily Admire (1.40 ERA, 57 K, 58 IP) has allowed just four earned runs in 51 innings since giving up five runs in the season opener. Her leadership in the circle can’t be overstated on a team without much varsity experience. Chloe Bowen continues to hit well (.519 AVG., 1.458 OPS).
6. Ozark (5-1, C4, LW: 7)
Brooke Pridgen and Lily Sullivan combined for 14 scoreless innings in a pair of 4-0 wins over Neosho and Carl Junction last week. Pridgen has been nearly unhittable in all over Ozark’s wins and has only had to go the distance twice. Nya Morgan’s OPS still sits over 2.000 at 2.003.
7. Logan-Rogersville (6-2, C3, LW: 6)
The Wildcats got a scare from Buffalo (they trailed 4-0 in the 6th) but came out of the week 2-0, including a 14-0 win over Parkview. Julia Marshall and Hunter Bledsoe continue to be a good 1-2 punch in the circle. The hitting has still been a bit inconsistent, but expect that to come around soon.
8. Cassville (4-2, C3, LW: 3)
This wasn’t a good week for the Wildcats. They got knocked around by rival Monett in an 11-1 loss and then dropped a surprising game to Seneca, 4-1. While the Seneca loss doesn’t look good, they were without Lauren Turner. It’s the Monett loss that was more concerning as the Cubs not only teed off on ace Josie Lone (11 ER), but also shut down the Cassville lineup. The good thing: the Cassville team we saw this week isn’t representative of their potential. They’ll recover.
9. Dixon (6-0, C2, LW: 10)
With a 15-0 win over Steelville and a good 10-0 win over Hartville, Dixon is backing up its ranking. Tressa Hughes continues to pitch well and this lineup has now score nine or more runs in four of their six wins.
10. Hermitage (6-1, C1, LW: 11)
Hermitage still looks like the area’s best Class 1 team. The Hornets came away with a good 13-4 win over Class 2 El Dorado Springs last week and a 7-4 win over Macks Creek. They compete in the Weaubleau tournament this weekend, which will be a good measuring stick looking ahead to next week’s rankings.
11. Bolivar (6-0, C3, LW: NR)
Bolivar officially has more wins this season than all of last year. With a good mix of veteran experience and young talent, the potential was there for this turnaround. A 3-2 win over previously undefeated Reeds Spring was the biggest of the young season. Upcoming games against Rogersville and Monett will tell us a lot more. Charlotte Waddelow has been incredibly productive so far, hitting .625 with 18 RBIs. Taylor Dial (.500 AVG.) and Jacey Follis (.526 AVG.) have been good as well in a lineup that’s batting .413 as a team. Freshman pitcher Katie Brooks is coming into her own on the mound, posting a 4-0 record with a 2.63 ERA and 1.13 WHIP with 29 strikeouts in 24 innings.
12. Reeds Spring (8-1, C3, LW: 9)
Bolivar handed the Wolves their first loss after a 7-0 start in a tightly contested 3-2 final last Thursday. It’s hard to say who’s truly the better team between these two upstarts, but five Reeds Spring errors certainly played a role in the loss. The Wolves bounced back with a 10-0 win over Marshfield and they continue to hit (.411 team average) and pitch (Izzy Erickson: 1.26 ERA, 77 K, 50 IP) well as a team.
13. Weaubleau (6-1, C1, LW: 12)
The Tigers allowed just two runs in three wins last week in wins over Halfway and Humansville. They’re hitting .374 as a team and Jenna Daggett (0.55 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) and Megan Flagg (2.44 ERA, 28 K, 14.1 IP) continue to pitch well. They have a shot to move up these rankings with a good performance in their home tournament this weekend.
14. Camdenton (8-3, C4, LW: 13)
Losses to Kickapoo and Pleasant Hope mean the Lakers take a bit of a hit this week. This a talented but young team that should be expected to be inconsistent at times, especially early in the season. Both of this week’s losses were one-run games and the Lakers had the lead in both. Shout out to Shelby Webster for a great defensive performance at third against Kickapoo.
15. Pleasant Hope (6-3, C2, LW: NR)
Always a threat for a district title, this team showed its potential last week with a 6-5 win over Class 4 Camdenton. The Pirates are also coming off a 9-1 win over Norwood and a close 6-5 loss to Hillcrest. The Pirates had to reload a bit after losing a strong season class last season, but expect them to continue to improve and compete for yet another district title.
Keep An Eye On: Republic (5-2, C4), Hillcrest (6-4, C3), Branson (6-5, C4), Walnut Grove (5-3, C1), Crocker (4-2, C1), Dora (4-4, C1), Wheatland (4-4, C1), Warsaw (7-2, C2), Houston (4-3, C2), McDonald County (5-5, C4)