By Chris Parker
These power rankings are a measurement of dominance within class and not a strictly head-to-head comparison. Coaches are encouraged to send any information, including stats, milestones and records to Chris Parker (firstname.lastname@example.org).
1. McDonald County (C3 – 11-1 – PR: 5)
McDonald County has just one loss this season to Class 4 Neosho by a 4-1 margin. Outside of that, the Mustangs’ resume is spotless. The reason they sit at No. 1 that they hold head-to-head victories over two of their biggest in-class area competitors in Bolivar and Reeds Spring. Rita Santillan and Whitney Kinser lead McDonald County at the plate with batting averages of .477 and .452, respectively. They are also 1-2 in RBI (16 and 13) and runs scored (19 and 13). Santillan is also a terror on the basepaths with 17 total steals. In the circle, it has been Alexa Hopkins and Madeline McCall doing damage for McDonald County. Hopkins has thrown 42 1/3 innings with 31 strikeouts and a 1.59 ERA. McCall has been dominant with 65 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings pitched. The schedule doesn’t ease up for McDonald County as they close their regular season slate with games against Rogersville, Webb City and Monett before playing in the Carthage Tournament.
2. Webb City (C4 – 10-3 – PR: NR)
Webb City was knocking on the door in the preseason rankings, but has established itself as the area’s best Class 4 team through the midway point of the season. The Cardinals are 10-3 overall with all three losses coming to out-of-area squads. The best in-area wins for Webb City have come against Ozark and Monett. They have been mashing all season long with five regular players hitting better than .400. Stacy Tyndall leads the way hitting .581 with a team-high14 RBI and 16 runs scored. Keira Jackson is hitting .512. Peyton Hawkins (.476), Karson Culver (.459) and Alyssa Jennings (.455) round out that group hitting over .400. Haidyn Berry (.395), Taylor Harris (.367) and Kaylyn Gilbert (.353) round out the regular starters with at least 40 plate appearances. Berry is the team’s main pitcher sporting a 3.02 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 62.2 innings.
3. Dora (C1 – 12-1 – PR: NR)
Dora wasn’t in the preseason rankings, but the Falcons have established themselves as the area’s top Class 1 program. They suffered one loss to Class 2 Doniphan, but are unbeaten otherwise. Key to their resume are wins over Norwood (twice), Halfway and Walnut Grove. That is four high-quality in-class wins. Dora is potent offensively with seven players sporting batting averages over .400 and on-base percentages over .500. That group includes: Cassidy Hambleton, Briley McKemie, Mary Fehr, Sarah Fehr, Riley Collins, Vanessa Woolbright, and McKenna Miller. That offense has Dora averaging a shade more than 12 runs per game including two games where the Falcons score 20 runs. Collins handles the pitching with a 2.91 ERA and a 12-1 overall record.
4. Warsaw (C2 – 12-4 – PR: 3)
Warsaw stays atop the list of the area’s Class 2 squads. Two of the Wildcat’s four losses have come against Class 4 squads. The other two have come in class to California and Eugene. These could prove problematic come postseason as Warsaw shares a district with California and would likely see Eugene in a sectional game. Aubrie McRoberts has been the team’s top hitter with a .521 batting average and 22 runs scored. Taylor Howe has matched McRoberts with 22 runs scored of her own to go with a .440 batting average and .525 on-base percentage. In the circle, Kya Schepker and Kylee Fajen have split time. Schepker has thrown 46 1/3 innings with 38 strikeouts and 3.17 ERA. Fajen has thrown 43 1/3 innings with 55 strikeouts and a 1.61. ERA.
5. Ozark (C4 – 11-4 – PR: 7)
Ozark remains a favorite in its district on the strength of an 11-4 record that features wins over Kickapoo, Bolivar, Monett and West Plains in area. The losses are to Webb City and McDonald County in area along with Class 4 squads Jefferson City (first game of the year) and Francis Howell Central (game four of five in the Ozark Tournament). At the plate, Ozark is getting it done with balance. Allie West, Ashlei Coonrod, Emily Schmucker, Kenna Mayfield and Maddy Spies have all driven in double digit runs this year. Abby Ford sets the table with a team-high .444 batting average and 22 runs scored. Schmucker, Mayfield and Spies have all also scored double-digit runs. Hattie Depee has been strong pitching to contact with a 2.25 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings pitched. Savannah Hughes has a 1.77 ERA and 15 strikeouts across 31 2/3 innings pitched. The Lady Tigers have plenty more opportunities to bolster their resume with the Liberty (KC) and Carthage tournaments still on the schedule.
6. Bolivar (C3 – 13-4 – PR: 1)
Bolivar was the No. 1 team in the preseason power rankings but a tough three-game stretch that saw the Liberators lose to Ozark, McDonald County and Warsaw has them at No. 6 in these midseason rankings. Those three teams are admittedly three of the area’s best squads all in contention to win district titles. Bolivar rattled off five wins after that three-game skid before dropping a one-run decision to Class 4 Neosho in the Branson Tournament. Florida State commit Katie Brooks has a .520 batting average to go with 20 RBI and 20 runs scored. She has thrown 50 innings with 100 strikeouts and a 1.40 ERA. Emme Hall, Avery McClure, Paige Severns and Mollie Klaser are all hitting over .400. Hall has added in 17 RBI and 24 runs scored. McClure and Severns have also been key run producers with 24 and 20 RBI, respectively.
7. Rogersville (C3 – 14-3 – PR: NR)
The good news for Rogersville is that the Wildcats have one of the area’s highest current win totals at 14. The bad news is that their three losses are all in class to teams they could have to face prior to the final four in Bolivar, Sullivan and Seneca. Versatility in the circle has been a strength for Rogersville with Halle Miles, Jenna Mckenzie and Paige Leithead all seeing significant innings. Miles has thrown 39 1/3 innings with 53 strikeouts and a 1.60 ERA. McKenzie has thrown 29 innings with 28 strikeouts and a 2.17 ERA. Leithead is at 29 2/3 innings with 17 strikeouts and 2.12 ERA. Next week is a big one for Rogersville with a trip to Monett on Oct. 1, a home game with McDonald County on Oct. 3 and the 29-team Springfield Tournament over the weekend.
8. Kickapoo (C4 – 11-3 – PR: 9)
Kickapoo has three losses this season, but only one has come in area to district foe Ozark by an 8-6 margin. The Lady Chiefs beat Reeds Spring 10-8 on the road early this month. There is a lot ahead of Kickapoo with road trips to Republic and West Plains before the end of this month. Ellie Facklam and Jaden LaBarge have provided two strong options in the circle for Kickapoo. The Lady Chiefs will then look to hold their own in the 29-team Springfield Invitational Oct. 4-5.
9. Reeds Spring (C3 – 9-3 – PR: 6)
Reeds Spring won its first two games of the year before dropping three in a row to Kickapoo, McDonald County and Rogersville. Since then, the Wolves are riding an eight-game winning streak in which they have outscored opponents 73-6. Izzy Erickson has been a two-way star yet again. In the circle, Erickson has thrown 45 innings with 105 strikeouts and a microscopic 0.47 ERA to go with a 0.56 WHIP. She has thrown two no-hitters this season. At the plate, Erickson is hitting .595 with a .646 on-base percentage to go with a team-high 17 runs scored and 11 RBI. She isn’t the only one doing damage at the plate. Maddison Cantrell leads the team with 23 RBI. Lexi Essick, Tori Scobee and Brooke Davis also have double-digit RBI giving Reeds Spring a host of players to lean on for run production, Essick, Cantrell, Ashley Nolan and Alexis Baskins have all also scored double-digit runs. Reeds Spring gets a huge test at home against Sullivan on Oct. 3 before facing four Class 4 squads in the Springfield Invitational pool play the next two days. Sullivan is currently 14-2 and finished third in Class 3 last season.
10. Republic (C4 – 9-4 – PR: 4)
Republic might have one of the area’s toughest remaining schedules which conversely gives them the best opportunity to improve their overall resume. The Lady Tigers are 9-4 with three of those losses coming in the Ozark Tournament. The other came to Reeds Spring. Most of Republic’s big games lie ahead with Kickapoo, Bolivar, Webb City, Ozark and Rogersville remaining on the schedule. There is also the Springfield Tournament where the Lady Tigers share a pool with West Plains, St. Theresa, Fatima and Bolivar plus a crossover game for five games in two days.
Knocking on the Door: East Newton (C2 – 9-4), Monett (8-5 – C3), Neosho (11-5 – C4), West Plains (11-5 – C3), Norwood (6-4 – C1)