WEB EXCLUSIVE: Platte County softball to Class 3 title game behind Stoner's big day

BRYCE MERENESS/Citizen photo Platte County pitcher Mallory Stoner claps her hands as she rounds second base following her two-run home run in the top of the first inning against Monett in a Class 3 state semifinal matchup at Killian Softball Complex in Springfield, Mo. Platte County went on to win 2-1, reaching the state championship game for the first time since winning the title in 2008. SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – No one on the Platte County roster had the experience of a long playoff run entering the Class 3 semifinals in Springfield, Mo. The Pirates now sit one game away from collecting the second state championship in program history. Starting pitcher Mallory Stoner struck out nine and hit a two-run home run in Platte County's 2-1 victory against Monett quickly gained the experience in a 2-1 win against Monett on Friday at Killian Softball Complex.

Stoner, Platte County's junior ace, immediately faced pressure when Monett's first two batters reached in the top of the first. She pitched around the runners with a strikeout and two easy fly balls.

“It’s my favorite thing,” Stoner said. “I think I do better under pressure. I don’t get nervous when people get on base.”

After the scare, Stoner wasted little time giving Platte County (25-6) a cushion. Her deep drive with one out against the Cubs (25-4) in the bottom of the inning proved to be the winning runs. Her first home run of the season came in the Pirates first trip to the Missouri State Softball Championships since 2009, when they finished third to complete a three-year run of top-four state finishes including the 2008 Class 3 championship.

Platte County advances to face De Soto (24-4) in Saturday's Class 3 State Championship game at 10 a.m.

Stoner's home run scored senior shortstop Jessie Hoover, who led off the bottom of the first with a single. The Pirates finished with only four hits, including a double for Lindsay Bogart.

Platte County committed three errors in the win and collected just four hits off of Monett ace Allie Krueger. Platte County won an earlier meeting this season with the Cubs 11-1 in six innings facing the No. 2 starter for the southwest Missouri powerhouse in the championship game of the Carthage Tournament.