BY JIM MISUNAS
HUTCHINSON – After 15 consecutive losses, the Larned Indians earned their first softball victory of the season with a wild 20-13 windblown win over Nickerson Friday. Nickerson won Friday’s opener 17-11 at the Fun Valley Sports Complex.
The Indians took full advantage of 25 baserunners reaching base on 13 walks and 12 hit batters in the nightcap. Larned pitcher Aspyn Whittington preserved the lead with solid pitching. Catcher Kiana Meyer sparked the defense by tagging Lauren Kinsey out at home (first inning) and throwing out Kalyse Abernathy (fourth inning). Kylie Damato was thrown out on a sixth-inning double play.
The 51/2-hour doubleheader and a gusting south wind created unpredictable play with any ball hit into the air.
Larned coach Amy Wilson likes the way her team kept playing despite yielding 30 runs.
“The girls battled even when we made mistakes. We made some plays,” Wilson said. “We played better softball, but we weren’t satisfied with the first game.”
Wilson credited Whittington and Meyer for solid games.
“I was super proud of Aspyn,” Wilson said. “That’s the first ballgame Kiana Meyer has caught. She did an excellent job.”
INDIANS 17, PANTHERS 2 (G1) – Larned rallied for an 11-11 tie with an eight-run fifth inning on nine walks and Whittington’s RBI single. The Indians drew 17 walks and three batters were hit by pitches to produce 20 baserunners without a hit. Trinity Woods hit a sacrifice fly. Hannah Norris hit an RBI groundout. Meyer and Annie Cox forced home runs on bases-loaded walks.
The Panthers scored six runs in the fifth inning. Abernathy drilled a two-run double and Peighton Shultz ripped an RBI triple. Lanaya Hada and Destiny Ponds also delivered RBIs. Shultz and Kaytyln Daines each drove home three runs in an 18-hit attack. Tenley Kaufman each drove home two runs. Kinsey drove in a run.
INDIANS 20, PANTHERS 13 (G2) – Larned broke the game open with a nine-run fourth inning after leading 11-8 after three innings. Nine batters reached base on a walk or hit batter in the inning. Whittington and Emma Thompson both delivered two-run doubles in the inning.
Whittington drove home three runs and Camryn Ettleman, Thompson, Paisley Lovesee and Cox each drove home two runs.
Nickerson’s Abigail Sessmom drove home three runs and Tenley Kaufmann drove home two runs. Cami Bass, Daines and Hada each drove in a run. Nickerson, which struggled with quality pitching and fielding all day, turned miraculous double plays in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings on balls hit by Whittington, Lovesee and Meyer.
Larned 020 180 0 – 11 2 2
Nickerson 500 660 x – 17 18 0
Taylor, Whittington (4) and Meyer. Ponds, Schultz (5), Ponds (5) and Daines. W—Ponds. L—Whittington. 2B—N—Daines, Kinsey, Abernathy
Larned 353 900 0 – 20 7 5
Nickerson 125 311 0 – 13 11 4
Whittington and Meyer. W—Whittington. Ponds, Shultz (2) and Daines. L—Ponds. 2B—L—Thompson, Whittington; N—Bass, Sessom
Haven 15-1 16-2
Hoisington 12-4 14-4
Smoky Valley 11-5 13-5
Pratt 12-4 13-5
Lyons 8-8 10-8
Hillsboro 8-8 10-8
Halstead 7-9 7-11
Hesston 4-12 5-13
Nickerson 2-14 2-16
Larned 1-15 1-15
THURSDAY—Hoisington 11-11, Smoky Valley 9-8
FRIDAY—Haven sweeps Hesston; Pratt 12-8, Hillsboro 1-7; Lyons 9-12, Halstead 6-7; Nickerson 17-13, Larned 11-20
TUESDAY—Smoky Valley at Haven; Nickerson at Hoisington; Pratt at Halstead; Lyons at Larned; Hesston at Hillsboro
3A LARNED REGIONAL—1 Russell/Victoria 15-3 vs. 8 Larned 1-15; 4 Sylvan/Lucas/Lincoln 13-7 vs. 5 Ellsworth 8-8; 2 Hoisington/Central Plains 14-4 vs. 7 Plainville/Stockton 3-13; 3 Beloit 12-4 vs. 6 Hays-Thomas More Prep 8-8
2A BROOKVILLE REGIONAL—1 Ell-Saline 13-3 vs. 8 Little River 0-16; 4 Bennington 6-13 vs. 5 Republic County 2-10; 2 Ellis 10-6 vs. 7 Sterling 1-15; 3 Salina Sacred Heart 7-9 vs. 6 Ellinwood 1-12
3A HESSTON REGIONAL—1 Haven 16-2 vs. 8 Minneapolis 5-13; 4 Hillsboro 10-8 vs. 5 Lyons 10-8; 2 SE Saline 14-4 vs. 7 Hesston 5-13; 3 Smoky Valley 13-5 vs. 6 Halstead 7-11