BY JIM MISUNAS
For one beautiful game, everything fell into place for Great Bend's softball team. The Panthers surprised Kingman 6-2 in Tuesday's opener. Kingman scored 10 runs in the final three innings for an 11-3 victory in the nightcap.
Great Bend (5-3) plays Dodge City to start a six-game road trip next week. Kingman improves to 5-1.
GREAT BEND 6, KINGMAN 2 (G1) — Panther pitcher Shanaeia Mehlhaff struck out eight batters to shut down Kingman's high-scoring offense to spark a first-game victory.
"Our girls played really well and executed that first game," said Great Bend coach Carrie Minton. "Shanaeia had great control. She moved the ball around and kept their batters off balance. The wind held the ball up for us on a couple really good hits that got held up. we did a good job putting the ball in play."
Jenna Mauler and Shanaeia Mehlhaff each drove home two runs. Aleah Urban scored the first run on Shailey Clark's first-inning double.
Mauler ignited a four-run third inning with a RBI single to score Urban. Kaylee Unruh singled home Mauler. Shanaeia Mehlhaff doubled home Clark and Kaylee Unruh for a 5-0 lead.
Kingman's Aly Hageman singled and scored on a fourth-inning error after Brianne Garrison's double. Carlie Kelley's double home home Garrison.
Mauler doubled home Alyssa Keller in the fourth inning for a 6-2 lead.
Centerfielder Aleah Urban made the game's best play with a running catch on Alex Schreiner's red-hot liner and a perfect throw to second baseman Sydney Unruh to double off Bailey Taylor in the third inning.
KINGMAN 11, GREAT BEND 3 (G2) — Pitcher Sarah Mehlhaff benefited from a pair of double plays turned by second baseman Sydney Unruh for a 1-1 tie through four innings. Shailey Clark singled and doubled and drove home two runs. Aleah Urban doubled twice and drove home Sydney Unruh.
But Kingman roughed up the Mehlhaff sisters for 10 runs in the final three innings. Hayley Belt hit a two-run single and Garrison, Anna Livingston and Bailey Taylor added RBIs in the fifth. Garrison drove home a run and Livingtson doubled home two runs in the sixth inning. Hageman tripled home Belt and scored on a seventh-inning wild pitch for an 11-3 final.
"Kingman is a great hitting team," Minton said. "They knocked the ball around. We didn't execute and that allowed runners to advance. The second game we didn't move our runners and didn't string hits together."
Kingman 000 200 0 — 2 7 3
Great Bend 104 100 x — 6 7 4
Kelley and Taylor. Shanaeia Mehlhaff and Kaylee Unruh. W—Shanaeia Mehlhaff. L—Kelley. 2B—K—Kelley, Garrison; GB—Clark, K. Unruh, Shanaeia Mehlhaff, Mauler.
Kingman 100 053 2 — 11 19 2
Great Bend 100 020 0 — 3 8 3
Belt and Taylor. Sarah Mehlhaff, Shanaeia Mehlhaff (5) and Unruh. WL—Sarah Mehlhaff. 2B—K—Belt, Smith, Livingston; GB—Urban 2; Bownes, Clark. 3B—K—Hageman.