Through the first four innings of the Class 4A-Division I softball quarterfinal game at Salina’s Bill Burke Park, Louisburg was stymied by Rose Hill pitcher Peyton Wheeler.
Still, Louisburg coach Kristi Weers knew it was only a matter of time until her team started hitting. Sure enough, the Wildcats put up five runs in the bottom of the fifth to beat Rose Hill 5-3.
Louisburg (16-6) advances to Friday’s 11 a.m. semifinal against McPherson (17-6), a 10-8 winner over Wamego.
Augusta won 9-1 over defending champion De Soto (9-14) in a rematch of the 2013 Class 4A title game. Augusta (19-4) will play Fort Scott (16-7), a 6-5 winner over Piper (12-9).
“Fifth inning, that’s when we really started to get the ball rolling,” said Weers, whose team was playing in the state tournament after an eight-year absence. “We always have the big bats, capable of putting runs on the board. It took us a full five innings. Once we did, everyone was a hitter.”
Louisburg center fielder Miranda White led off the fifth with a single to right. First baseman Ashley Boles followed with a single to right, pitcher Mackenzie Cannon reached on a bunt, as did catcher Josie Keegan as the Wildcats scored four runs with no outs.
Shortstop Brecken Sigg added a two-out solo homer for the 5-0 lead.
“It’s sort of something we’ve done all season. We’re playing really well, and we just have that one bad inning,” Rose Hill coach Kim Waltman said. “It may be errors. It may be just that they’re hitting and we die. We have that one bad inning and try to fight back through it, but in most of our losses, that’s what happened.”
Rose Hill responded in the sixth with a leadoff hit by Brooklyn Tolbert. The Rockets took advantage of some Louisburg miscues and got RBIs from Kendra Baldridge and Dani Sherwin to get within 5-3.
But Louisburg pitcher Mackenzie Cannon, who had 11 strikeouts, settled down and kept the Rockets hitless in the seventh inning.
“We told ourselves at the beginning of the season, ‘We’re going to set one goal, and that’s get here,’ ” Weers said. “And we did. So our next goal was to get through tonight. And the next goal is to get through 11 o’clock tomorrow.”
Piper tied the score in the top of the seventh with a two-run homer by Brooklyn Lauritzen. But Fort Scott’s Abby Denton knocked in Karlee Stanley for the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh.
“I think (early) they were trying a little bit too hard,” Piper coach Stan McAfee said. “Then at the end, they figured out to be patient, ‘I’ll take a swing at a good pitch and try to put it in play.’ They were determined to come back and win the game.”
De Soto second baseman Morgan Stonestreet, the third batter of the game, hit a solo homer over the center field fence. But Augusta pitcher Megan Hayes only allowed five more baserunners over the next six innings as the Orioles avenged their only loss of the 2013 season, which came in the 4A title game.
“The girls played hard,” DeSoto coach Junelle Woolery said. “We just couldn’t string anything together. Barely getting underneath it. Kudos to Augusta. They have a great team. They hit the crap out of the ball, and we just couldn’t put anything together.”
| Joanna Chadwick, The Wichita Eagle
McKenzie Weber led off the final inning with a home run and Livia Palmieri followed with a single that kept the hopes of Blue Valley Southwest alive until the last out in the opening round of the Class 5A state softball tournament Thursday, but that wasn’t enough to complete a comeback against Topeka Seaman.
The Vikings won 4-1 behind the strong pitching of Hailey Reed, who kept the Timberwolves guessing from the start.
Blue Valley Southwest was the tournament’s No. 8 seed. It finished the season with a record of 14-9.
Kelsey Sterneker led Maize South to a 6-1 victory over Mill Valley, earning the Mavericks a spot in the semifinals.
Sterneker, a senior pitcher, allowed one hit and one run over seven full innings. She had the Jaguars off-balance all evening, carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning.
“We played them earlier, so we knew they were susceptible to curve balls,” Maize South coach Teri Larson. “We threw a lot of curve balls today. Some were breaking quite a bit. It was hot and it was working. She has a lot of pitches, but she stuck with that one.”
Mill Valley’s lone run came in the sixth inning. Mill Valley ended its season with a record of 18-5.
| Kellis Robinett, email@example.com
A perfect season came to an early end for top-seeded Oskaloosa, which was upset 3-1 by Lyons-Chase in the Class 3A state quarterfinals Thursday night at the Hummer Sports Complex in Topeka.
The Bears committed six errors in the game, including two in the seventh inning that led to two runs for Lyons-Chase. Oskaloosa managed just five hits in the game with its lone run scored on an RBI triple by Madison Miller.
Oskaloosa finished the season with a 23-1 record.
| Kathleen Gier, firstname.lastname@example.org