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Panther softball loses in regional final
deshawna bryant1
Great Bend Panther DeShawna Bryant greets her teammates after a home run at the Great Bend Sports Complex.

Panthers lose in softball title game


GODDARD – Great Bend’s softball team pulled out one upset behind DeShawna Bryant’s school record seven RBIs. The Panthers were one big inning shy of another upset when Goddard Eisenhower powered past Great Bend 6-2 in Wednesday’s 5A championship game.

"We couldn’t asked for a better effort," said Great Bend coach Carrie Minton. "We came out and competed. They did a tremendous job."

Great Bend (11-11) qualified for the 5A regional championship game for the first time since 2019. The Panthers return three pitchers and all nine starters next season.

"It’s exciting to have girls with varsity experience," Minton said.

EISENHOWER 6, PANTHERS 2 (G2) – Eisenhower’s Audry Rumsey drilled a 2-run homer for her ninth home run. The Panthers committed two errors that enabled the Lions to score five first-inning runs off starter Alyssa McCauley (5-2). Karlee Ford scored on an error. Mallory Pabst tripled home a run and scored the fifth run after escaping a rundown.

"We committed a couple errors. We had an inning where we gave up runs, but our girls kept battling," said Minton.

Karli George doubled home Rumsey for a 6-0 lead after three innings. Panther reliever Braelyn Turner pitched four shutout innings to extend the ballgame.

"Braelyn Turner did an outstanding job in game two," Minton said.

Denver Ringo singled home Bryant in the fourth inning. Katherine Mazouch singled home Ava Kaiser after a fifth-inning double.

PANTHERS 10, HAYS 5 (G1) – Bryant donned her Superwoman uniform with a bases-loaded double, a 2-run single and seven RBIs to spark a huge upset over Western Athletic rival Hays High. 

WAC champion Hays (15-6) outscored the Panthers 24-2 while sweeping three regular season games. The Indians started backup pitcher Riley Dreher (4-3) rather than No. 1 pitcher Audree Thomas (11-3) who yielded one run and struck out 13 batters in 14 innings against the Panthers.

"Our girls were mentally prepared," Minton said. "We got the momentum rolling. McCauley pitched a tremendous game."

Bryant made the Indians pay with a bases-loaded double and an RBI double with first base open. Hays had seen enough when the Indians intentionally walked Bryant with the bases loaded. When the Indians pitched to Bryant one last time, she delivered a 2-run single for a 10-3 lead.

Paige Thexton pushed across a run with a bases-loaded walk. The Panthers scored in five of seven innings.

Hays misfired when Ashlyn Zimmer was called out for interfering with Panther catcher Kamryn Koelsch. The Indians also lost a runner for runner’s interference.

Great Bend 000 110 0 – 2 7 2

Eisenhower 501 000 x – 6 8 0

McCauley, Turner (3) and Koelsch. Rumsey, George (7) and Ford. W—Rumsey. L—McCauley, 5-2. 2B—GB—Kaiser; GE—Ford, George. 3B—GE—Pabst. HR—GE—Rumsey.

Great Bend 140 120 0 – 10 15 1

Hays High 300 000 2 – 5 12 2

McCauley and Koelsch. Dreher, Thomas (3) and Solida. W—McCauley, 5-1. L—Dreher, 4-3. 2B—GB—Ringo 2, Bryant 2, Mazouch; H—Zimmerman, Dreiling.