BY JIM MISUNAS
HAYS – After Great Bend Quicksilver captured the USSSA Western Kansas C State Softball Championship, coach Shawn Behr took a moment to reflect on past coaches' accomplishments.
Quicksilver crushed the Salina Nemesis 12-5 in the championship after edging the Salina Nemesis 4-2 in the winners bracket final June 28 at Hays. Quicksilver competes at the IFA state softball tournament July 11-12.
“Over 25 years ago, a group of guys (some with kids, some not) put together a girls softball organization,” Behr said. “Through the years, the uniforms, coaches, girls, and equipment have all changed. The lessons for life, the lessons of hard work and competition, and the lessons of teamwork – have thrived and flourished.”
Behr paid tribute to past Quicksilver coaches.
“If you see Lynn Engle, Doug Keiswetter, Mitch Haney, or Eddie Juergenson around town – these guys are responsible for taking time to form Quicksilver Softball. They deserve a pat on the back. As a coach, and father, I’m certainly grateful. When we won a state title last weekend, a little of that victory, goes to each one of those guys.”
QUICKSILVER 12, SALINA NEMESIS 5 (CHAMPIONSHIP) – Quicksilver earned a championship rematch with the Salina Nemesis, which prompted a quick pep talk from Behr.
“When I saw we played Salina again in the finals, we spoke to the girls about not wasting the opportunity,” Behr said. “With CoVID, I wanted them to play their hearts out every single game because we never knew when they would shut down the season. The girls responded. They came out with their hair on fire, and the volume turned up.”
Pitchers Alyssa McCauley and Braelyn Turner combined to yield five runs. Kya Behr drove in three runs and Josie Blevins drove home two runs. Katherine Mazouch, Kamryn Koelsch and Briley Richter added RBIs.
“Alyssa McCauley started throwing strikes, and they were putting her into play, but the defense was getting outs,” Behr said. “Our offense was racking up runs, and we broke their backs. Our bats were blazing. We jumped on their pitching staff, broke their backs and they lost all fire. Our girls had confidence, and could see the title in reach. We had ‘The Eye of the Tiger.’ You could see that discouraged look on Salina with their body language. When Braelyn Turner closed out the final batters, the joy and excitement from these girls was hard to describe. I was proud every one of them.”
Behr felt bad that Kennedy Behnke was unable to contribute due to a knee injury, but she was more than happy to join the celebration.
Three years ago, the Quicksilver girls finished with a 7-23 record.
“They’ve worked their tails off,” Behr said.
QUICKSILVER 4, SALINA NEMESIS 2 (WINNERS BRACKET) – Pitcher Braelyn Turner worked a solid game to earn the victory in a solidly-played game.
“This game was a defensive pitching battle,” Behr said. “We played fantastic defense in the outfield led by Denver Ringo, Josie Blevins and Camdyn Post. A leaping catch by Denver Ringo in the outfield stopped what would have been a game tying extra base hit in the final inning.”
Quicksilver scored three runs in the first two innings. Mazouch and Kate Jackson scored on passed balls. Blevins scored on an error. Alyssa McCauley’s double scored Behr.
“Salina has a very good team,” Behr said. “One pitcher can spin it like lightning. We geared up to the fast pitching. We knocked her out of the game after the first inning. That shellshocked them a little bit, as she is their power pitcher. These girls picked each other up, when someone is struggling. “
QUICKSILVER 10, DODGE CITY ELITE 1 – Pitchers Braelyn Turner and Alyssa McCauley each struck out three batters and Denver Ringo finished the game. Recording doubles were Kamryn Koelsch, Josie Blevins, Katherine Mazouch, Briley Richter and Kate Jackson. Blevins drove home three runs. Richter, McCauley, Jackson, Ringo and Braelyn Turner delivered RBIs.
“We capitalized on defensive mistakes, played small ball, and hitting timely doubles,” Behr said. “We were glad to see the bats remain hot. On Sunday, you hope you don’t lose momentum. Our defense was sharp the entire game. We had girls backing up plays. Josie was able to catch a runner stealing third for the final out of the game.”
QUICKSILVER 12, SCOTT CITY ELITE 1 – Pitcher Kate Jackson recorded four strikeouts and Denver Ringo struck out the side in one inning. Turner drove home two runs and Behr had two hits. Delivering RBIs were Ringo, Jackson, Richter and Koelsch.
“Kate Jackson’s small frame is deceiving,” Behr said. “She brings the heat, works the corners, and allows the defense to do their thing. Defense was on top of it, and did all the little things. We brought Denver Ringo in, with major heat, and she struck out the side. The bats came alive against faster pitching, and our timing was on.”
QUICKSILVER 5, GOODLAND SLAMMERS 2 – Pitcher Braelyn Turner struck out 12 batters to dominate Goodland. Quicksilver trailed 2-0 on three errors for unearned runs. A five-run third inning was the difference. Briley Richter doubled twice and Quicksilver had four extra-base hits. Driving home runs were Turner and Behr on bunts and Mazouch, Koelsch and Richter with RBI doubles.
“Braelyn Turner worked the plate,” Behr said. “She stayed tough with the defense struggling behind her. She took care of business. Our bats adjusted to the offspeed stuff in the third, and we were able to score enough to advance. Our bats came to life in the third inning with five runs.”
GREAT BEND QUICKSILVER
COACHES–Shawn Behr, Dave McCauley, Mike Ringo, Jennifer Turner