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Hot bats, strong pitching leads Lady Panthers in sweep of twinbill against Lady Cardinals
spt kp GBHS softball Middleton
Great Bend High Schools Hunter Middleton pitched a two-hitter against Hoisington in the second game of a doubleheader on Thursday evening at the Great Bend Sports Complex. - photo by Kevin Price Great Bend Tribune

A grand slam is a nice way to start the high school softball season.
For Great Bend High School senior Samantha Dreiling, that’s exactly what happened.
After giving up a run to Hoisington in the top of the first inning, Dreiling’s shot helped Great Bend to a seven-run bottom of the first on its way to a 16-1 win in four innings in the first game of a doubleheader on Thursday.
The Lady Panthers (2-0) won the second game at the Great Bend Sports Complex 6-0.
“We were really happy with the way the girls played today,” GBHS head coach Carrie Minton said. “You never know what to expect in the season opener. You might have a little jitters, a little rust, but for the most part, they played really well.
“We made some great plays in both games. Both of our pitchers threw phenomenally. Hitting was great.”
The games followed an unveiling ceremony for a metal art sculpture in front of the Great Bend Sports Complex.
After Hoisington’s Mykela Riedl dropped a hit in shallow center field for a single, senior Sydnie Bilbrey hit a two-out single to drive her in.
It was the only run the Lady Cardinals (4-2) managed in the doubleheader.
“It was just a little bit of jitters coming out,” Minton said. “This was Hoisington’s fifth and sixth games of the year, so they had kind of settled in a little more than we had.
“Then the girls went to the plate, especially in that first inning, and hit the ball well.”
Stephanie Morrison, who had two RBI triples in the game, got the Lady Panthers started, driving a ground ball past Riedl for a single.
Kaylie Doll reached third base and Morrison scored after Hoisington first baseman Jennifer Hitschmann was overthrown. McKenna Mauler drove Doll in with a double.
Elizabeth Barber walked, Dakota Sanders hit an RBI single and Tarynn Stueder reached base on an error to load the bases for Dreiling.
Dreiling drove a high-arcing shot over the fence in left-center field.
“I couldn’t have been up there without my girls,” Dreiling said. “They were on base, and I just got up there thinking, ‘I don’t want to leave them out there to dry. I have to step it up.’
“I was more scared because it popped up. I didn’t realize it was over until I was at first. I was like, ‘Oh, good deal.’ ”
The grand slam was followed by three straight outs, but Minton said that the blast got her team fired up.
“That’s always real special when the girls have something like that,” Minton said. “To be a senior and your first at-bat of the season, to hit a grand slam, that makes it kind of tough. The expectations are there. It’s great for them to step up and play well.”
Taking advantage of five Hoisington errors, the Lady Panthers continued to add to their lead, winning the game by the run rule in the fourth inning.
“We played a really good team,” Hoisington head coach Gary Boxberger said. “We hit the ball well today. We just hit it right at people. We need to take this game and make it a learning experience. It will help us the rest of the season playing a good team like that.”
Hunter Middleton had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning of the second game for the Lady Panthers.
Great Bend scored four runs in the bottom of the first on and RBI double from Middleton and RBI singles from McKenna Mauler, Barber and Hannah Mauler.
It turned out that Middleton only needed one run as she shut down the Lady Cardinals, giving up her first hit to Presley Smith, the first batter in the top of the sixth.
Middleton scattered two hits while striking out nine batters.
“I don’t know that we necessarily knew there was the no-hitter, but we knew that she was throwing the ball really well,” Minton said of Middleton. “It’s just one of those deals where she didn’t necessarily feel like she was getting everything that she wanted, but you go with it. She threw really well.”
Great Bend hosts Western Athletic Conference foe Liberal on Tuesday. The doubleheader starts at 4 p.m.
Hoisington travels to Ellinwood on Tuesday, starting at 4.


At Great Bend
Sports Complex


Game 1
Great Bend 16, Hoisington 1
                                 123   4         R    H    E
Hoisington                100   0  —    1    3    5
Great Bend               721   6  —   16   9    1
     Tana Hickel & Sydney Bilbrey; Braylin Bretz & Dakota Sanders. W — Bretz. L — Hickel. 2B — Great Bend (McKenna Mauler, Dakota Sanders). 3B — Great Bend (Stephanie Morrison 2). HR — Great Bend (Samantha Dreiling).

Game 2
Great Bend 6, Hoisington 0
                         123   456   7        R    H    E
Hoisington        000   000   0  —   0    2    2
Great Bend       400   200   x  —   6    9    0
     Karissa Schremmer & Marisa Jonas; Hunter Middleton & Hannah Mauler. W — Middleton. L — Schremmer. 2B — Great Bend (Middleton, Morrison).