Keen dominant as ‘Jackets rally back to defeat Eagles on Monday

LDR photo/Alex Boyer
Lebanon junior pitcher Kaylee Keen (pictured above) throws a pitch during a high school softball game against the Joplin Eagles at Yellowjacket Stadium on Monday. The ‘Jackets won the contest, 7-2.


The Lebanon offense sprung to life in the sixth inning as the ‘Jackets defeated the Joplin Eagles on Monday at Yellowjacket Stadium, 7-2.

After a web gem type play from the Eagles’ centerfielder ended the Lebanon threat in the fifth inning to keep Joplin out in front 2-1, the bats woke up for for the ‘Jackets in the bottom of the sixth.

Lebanon senior Kailyn Hazlewood started the rally with a leadoff double that rolled all the way to the fence in left field and would come around to score on a wild pitch. With the game tied, senior Shannon Jenkins delivered a big hit to give the ‘Jackets a 3-2 lead with 0 outs.

Senior Avery Hlavacek busted the game open with a bases-clearing single after the Joplin outfielder had a miscue that allowed Hlavacek to advance to third base on the error and extended the Lebanon lead, 6-2.  Emily Morque would drive Hlavacek in on the next pitch on a fielder’s choice that would cap the Lebanon scoring for the day.

“I was happy that our sticks came to life in the sixth inning and it did us good to prove to ourselves that we could come from behind in a game,” Lebanon head coach Stan Crum said. “I think the girls never panicked last night and believed it was just a matter of time before they timed the Joplin pitcher out. And that is exactly what happened.”

The ‘Jackets got a masterpiece of a performance from junior Kaylee Keen who went all seven innings, allowing just six hits and striking out nine.

Crum said he was proud of the way Keen stayed locked in for the entirety of the game.

“Kaylee Keen was really locked in last night,” Crum said. “She looked really sharp and had the Joplin girls off balance for much of the game.

“When she is hitting her spots like she did last night, we are always in a position to win the ballgame if we can get timely hitting.”

The Eagles got off to a quick start in the first inning after the cleanup hitter for Joplin drove in a runner with two outs to grab an early 1-0 lead. Joplin would score again in third on a passed ball, making the score 2-0.

Lebanon (9-13) got a run in the bottom of the fifth after Morque drove in a runner to cut the lead to 2-1.

The ‘Jackets finished the game with 12 hits and left six runners on base. For the second consecutive home game, Lebanon finished the day with zero errors.

“Our defense has played very well recently, and it couldn’t happen at a better time with the district tournament right around the corner,” Crum said. “As a coach, it is important to try and prevent your team from peaking too early in the season. You want to be playing your best ball at the end, and hopefully, we timed it right this year.”

Lebanon was slated to host Jefferson City on Tuesday and will host the Hillcrest Hornets at 4 p.m. on Monday at the new stadium on the LHS campus.

LEBANON HITS: Avery Hlavacek 3, Emily Morque 1, Kailyn Hazlewood 2, Kaylee Keen 2, Shannon Jenkins 1, Leslee Weddle 1, Nicole Truitt 2.  


The Lebanon Daily Record

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