Walters, Darnell named Globe’s athletes of week
BY TREY VAUGHAN
Sarcoxie softball’s Kylee Walters and Webb City baseball’s Kaylor Darnell have picked up The Joplin Globe’s athlete of the week awards after their performances on the diamond for the week ending April 15.
The sophomore’s week was highlighted by a seven- inning pitching performance against Diamond.
Walters held the Class 2 second-ranked Wildcats to just two runs and only one earned on Thursday. She also went 4 for 4 in that game with 4 RBIs and two home runs in a 7-2 win.
“She was locked in that game — hitting and pitching,” Sarcoxie head coach Dale Rice said. “That game meant a lot to her. She went at it and hit her spots.”
Through her seven innings of work, Walters recorded 12 strikeouts while only surrendering six hits and no free passes.
“She’s a very talented softball player,” Rice said. “She has 12 home runs on the season as a sophomore. She hits the upper 50s on her pitches consistently. She has a lot of pop in her swing and more control on her pitches this year. and she’s grown up a lot this year. You can see it in her mental aptitude.”
Rice noted that Walters pitched a fair amount as a freshman and that has helped in her growth and maturation as a second-year varsity player. But her hitting is where he sees the most talent.
“Offensively is where she’s pretty special,” he said.“It’s a lot of fun watching her hit the ball.”
Darnell began his week with a complete-game shutout on the mound for the Cardinals against Branson on Tuesday. On Thursday, he hit a walkoff to send Webb City past Republic.
The senior right hander went all seven innings allowing three hits and striking out nine batters against the Pirates.
“He probably had his best start of the year against Branson, so he showed what he’s capable of as a pitcher,” Webb City head coach Andrew Doennig said.“He had all of his pitches going that day.”
Doennig added that having his changeup working that day really helped Darnell have success along with keeping the ball down in the zone and not walking any batters.
Against the Tigers, with his team trailing 2-1, Darnell dug into the box after starting the day 0 for 3 at the plate.
“He’s a pretty mild-mannered guy,” Doennig said.“He had struck out on a full count earlier that game with the bases loaded. They threw him a 3-2 breaking ball that he struck out on.”
This time, with two strikes on him again, Darnell came through with a two-RBI single to earn the 3-2 win over Republic.
“He told me afterward ‘I knew he was going to throw me another curveball,’” Doennig said. “And he did exactly what he was supposed to. He took it to right field and shot it right between the first baseman and second baseman.”
Darnell ended the week going 1 for 3 at the plate against Hillcrest on Friday. He doubled with the bases loaded to drive in three runs while scoring in that inning as well. Webb City won that game 17-2.
“Whenever he sees it well, he swings it as good as anyone on our team,” Doennig said.