Makenzie McAtee came out on the losing end after a long night of softball June 4, but she still enjoyed the experience.
McAtee, a Lee’s Summit West graduate, joined four other Lee’s Summit-area players and a host of top Missouri talent taking part in the annual Mo-Kan All-Star Softball Series at the Shawnee Mission School District Softball Complex in Shawnee, Kan.
And while the Missouri team saw a three-game winning streak in the series snapped when Kansas took two of three games, McAtee still found the experience more than worthwhile.
“It was really fun to play with players that I played against all throughout high school,” McAtee said. “It was a bunch of different talents coming together just trying to put the best out there.”
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McAtee, who will play for Central Missouri next spring, had two doubles and drove in a run in Missouri’s 4-3 victory in the first game. She had two more hits and another RBI in the second game – a 6-5 walkoff victory for Kansas – and only one at-bat in a two-inning, 8-0 Missouri loss in the deciding game.
“We were producing hits but it was a struggle to connect them and put them all together,” McAtee said. “We were getting hits here and there, we were making the plays we needed to, but Kansas just started hitting the ball pretty well.”
McAtee got her RBI in the second game on a single up the middle in the third inning that put the Missouri stars on top 3-1. Kansas tied the score with two runs in the bottom of the third, and tied the game again on a towering two-run homer from Tonganoxie’s Delainey Fenoglio in the fifth inning after Missouri had taken a 5-3 lead in the fourth.
Kansas loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh, and Emma Ryan of Blue Valley West sent a single to right field to bring home the game-winning and series-tying run.
“We kind of got the momentum and then we had a change in that second game when they tied it up,” said Lee’s Summit North softball coach John Gage, who served as one of the Missouri team’s assistant coaches. “At different times we looked really, really good. But sometimes the uncontrollables take over.”
That would include injuries, which left Missouri with only two pitchers – Lee’s Summit North graduate Marisa Davis and Blue Springs South product Sydni Righi - available going into the series.
Olivia Krehbiel, who also pitched for North last season, was on the Missouri roster but couldn’t pitch or hit because of an injury. Lee’s Summit’s Ashlyn Cook played in the outfield and had a double in the second game.
Davis, who will join Krehbiel, McAtee and Cook next year at Central Missouri, picked up the win in the opener by allowing three runs on five hits with six strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings.
Davis relieved Righi in the final two innings of the second game, and she was in the circle for the third, which was shortened to two innings by a city ordinance requiring the lights to be shut off by 10 p.m.
Davis gave up three runs on two hits and two walks in the first inning, and five more runs on four hits in the second.
Gage blamed Davis’ struggles more on the strike zone than fatigue.
“She lives on the corners and she wasn’t getting the corners,” Gage said. “She pitched the same as she did in high school. She lives on by the corners and if she doesn’t get them, it’s a different ballgame.”
It was a different outcome for Missouri, which had swept the past three series. Missouri still holds a 9-8 lead all-time.
But that all seemed secondary afterward. Gage said he was just glad to have a chance to coach Davis and Krehbiel one last time and work with some top-notch softball talent.
“It was exciting for me to come over and help,” Gage said. “It’s an honor come out here and just be around these girls. Most of them we’ve seen play for a long time.”