Blue Valley Northwest used good pitching and defense along with timely hitting to advance to the Class 6A state softball tournament for the first time since 2003.
By CHARLES REDFIELD
Special to The Star
The Huskies blanked Shawnee Mission West 7-0 in the first game and shut out SM East 4-0 in the Northeast Region 2 championship game.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Carly Shniderson worked both games, allowing just 10 hits in the two games. She fanned four and didn’t walk a batter in the second game.
“This is the first time I have had two shutouts in one day,” she said. “My defense played well behind me, and we are better as a team than we were last year.”
Junior catcher Kaitlyn Styve was impressed by her batterymate.
“She pitched amazing,” Styve said of Shniderson. “Her spots were right on. This is the best she has been all year.”
Shniderson scattered six hits in the second game.
BV Northwest, 13-7, scored what proved to be the winning run in the bottom of the first.
Left-handed hitting senior shortstop Madison Jones led off the game with a line-drive triple that hit near the left-field foul line. She scored on Styve’s sacrifice fly to right field.
The Huskies added an unearned run in the third. Freshman third baseman Taryn Thomas’ fly ball to left was dropped for a two-base error. The run scored on Styve’s ground single between third and shortstop.
Thomas doubled down the left-field line to open the fifth inning. Jones sacrificed her to third, and she scored on sophomore second baseman Rachel Chalupa’s fly to center that just fall out of the reach of the center fielder for an RBI single.
The Huskies scored their fourth run after two were out in the bottom of the sixth.
Senior left fielder Kathy Curtis walked. Thomas grounded a single to left. Jones singled to center for a 4-0 advantage.
It looked as if the Lancers, 13-9, had a rally going in the top of the seventh.
Sophomore first baseman Shelby Harvey grounded a single to left, and junior second baseman Corey Kirkpatrick was hit by a pitch.
But junior Jamie Maddox’s liner was speared by Jones at shortstop. She turned it into a double play with her throw to Chalupa at second base.
Junior shortstop Maty Gray flied to right, ending the game.
“This (winning the regional) is just incredible,” Jones said. “We have never been close to this before and to do it now in my senior year is great.”
For sixth-year coach Kim White, this is her first trip to the state tournament.
“Carly (Shniderson) has been solid all year,” White said. “She’s just a fighter.
“Our bats were the difference and that we believe in each other.”
SM East had advanced to the championship game with a 5-0 victory over BV West.