PRATT – Ellinwood ace pitcher Allison Panning was diplomatic, but smiling after the Eagles’ quest for a Class 2-1A state softball championship came up shy for the second year in a row.
She was thankful that the Eagles won 12 consecutive games after struggling to find their identity to reach the 2A title game.
“We started off the season pretty rocky. I was very proud we got to the finals,” Panning said. “. We worked hard for it. I’m very proud of the way we played softball today.”
Ellinwood’s run to a second consecutive state championship game ended when perennial powerhouse Chase County steamrolled the Eagles 10-0 Friday in five innings.
“It’s a program that’s won state championships and we’re still building our softball program,” said Ellinwood coach Jason Duvall. “Our girls did a fabulous job to get here again. We were thankful to get an opportunity to play for a state championship. I’m extremely proud what we accomplished to get to the state finals.”
The Bulldogs’ Liz Schrater scored the game-ending run from second base after a diving catch by shortstop Jenna Oelke. She fell to the ground and was unable to make a throw home.
Bulldog pitcher Daryn Crawford struck out 11 batters and yielded a fourth-inning bunt single by Kaitlyn Pohlman.
“We knew Daryn was a really good pitcher with more speed than we’ve faced,” Duvall said. “We had not seen anything like that.”
The Bulldogs’ Bailee Swift and Molly Soyez each drilled two-run homers and added doubles in a 10-hit attack.
“They were really good hitters,” Panning said. “We could tell they’d played at state and knew what they were doing at the plate.”
Chase County scored five unearned runs by taking advantage of five Ellinwood errors.
“You can’t do anything about home runs, but we made mistakes against a quality softball team,” Duvall said. “We ran into a really good softball team.”
Swift hit a two-run homer after Sammy Jo Peterson reached on an error. McKenzie Higgs singled home Crawford for a 3-0 lead. Soyez’s two-run homer made it 5-0.
Three Ellinwood errors gift wrapped a two-run third inning for the Bulldogs. Crawford’s two-run fourth-inning single gave the Bulldogs a 9-0 lead.
Ellinwood seniors are Allison Panning, Brittney Beck, Katelyn Robinson and Eline Hansen.
Swift earned gold medals in the shot put and javelin in Wichita before arriving for the state title game.
With the win on Friday, Chase County notched its fifth state title in the past six years.
ELLINWOOD 5, COLGAN 2 (semifinal) – Panning was masterful in an 11-strikeout performance. She yielded two unearned runs in the seventh inning when the Eagles committed two errors.
The Eagles scored two fourth-inning runs. Lauren Petz walked and scored when third baseman Allie Evans threw the ball into right field on Brittney Beck’s groundball. Beck scored on Jenna Oelke’s bunt.
Kaitlyn Pohlman started a three-run fifth inning on a hard-hit bunt. Kaitlyn Panning walked and Petz and Beck followed with RBI singles. Petz scored on Oelke’s perfectly executed bunt for a 5-0 lead.
BULLDOGS 10, EAGLES 0
EHS 000 00 – 0 1 6
CC 322 21 – 10 10 0
Allison Panning and Beck. Crawford and Vandegrift. W—Crawford. L—A. Panning. 2B—CC—Swift, Soyez. HR—CC—Swift, Soyez.
EAGLES 5, COLGAN 2
PC 000 000 2 – 2 3 2
EHS 00 000 x – 5 5 2
Cedeno, Brynds (5) and Battitoli. A. Panning and Beck. W—A. Panning. L—Cedeno.