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Panthers lose to late-inning rally
spt_hg_Shanaeia Mehlhaff (7) Pitching 4.jpg
Great Bend Panther pitcher Shanaeia Mehlhaff delivers a perfect pitch. - photo by Hugo Gonzalez

WICHITA – Great Bend's softball team led Wichita Northwest 10-2 and were six outs away from a shocking 5A regional championship.

But the Grizzlies rallied for nine hard-earned runs in their final two at-bats to steal an 11-10 championship victory over the hard-luck Panthers. Northwest (17-3) heads to the 5A state tournament while Great Bend ends with a hard-luck 13-7 record.

Great Bend was one out away with the tying and winning runners on base when Grizzly Hannah Joynt delivered the game-winning base hit to score the final two runs. Kayli Dryden doubled home Laci Dryden for a 10-9 score. Josie Peckinger singled and C. Stucky walked to load the bases with two out. Joynt's bloop hit scored Kayli Dryden with the tying run and Peckinger with the game-winner.  

Panther starter Shanaeia Mehlhaff held the Grizzlies in check for five innings. Reliever Shana Mehlhaff was unable to rescue the Panthers, who returned to Shanaeia in the final inning.

Northwest scored six runs to slice the margin to 10-8 after six innings. Joynt delivered an identical clutch base hit to draw the Grizzlies within 10-8. The Grizzlies had four hits, two walks, two errors and a hit batter in the six-run inning.  M. Smarsh hit an RBI double. Two runs scored on an error. A bases-loaded walk by followedby Joynt's two-run single for a 10-8 score. 

Great Bend's Kaylee Unruh and McKayla Williams each drove in three runs. Aleah Urban, Jenna Mauler and Brenna Bownes also drove in runs for a 10-2 lead. Williams drove home Shailey Clark and Kaylee Unruh for a 10-2 lead.

Kayli Dryden and Peckinger delivered RBIs in the first inning. Shailey Clark homered and Brenna Bownes doubled home Kaylee Unruh for a 2-2 tie. Jenna Mauler tripled home Shanaeia Mehlhaff and Unruh singled home Mauler for a 4-2 lead. Aleah Urban singled home Alyssa Keller after a triple. Makayla Williams singled home Mauler for a 6-2 lead after five innings.

Kaylee Unruh doubled home Keller and Urban and Williams singled home Clark and Unruh for a 10-2 lead.

Great Bend 022 114 0 – 10 15 2

Wichita NW 200 006 3 – 11 16 1

Shanaeia Mehlhaff, Sarah Mehlhaff (6), Shanaeia Mehlhaff (6) and Unruh. Joynt, Bonilla (4) and Jones. W—Bonilla. L—Shanaeia Mehlhaff 6-6. 2B–GB–Bownes, Unruh; NW—Laci Dryden, K. Dryden, Smarsh. 3B–GB–Keller, Mauler. HR–GB–Clark.