With one swing of the bat, Jordan Haney sent the Great Bend High School Lady Panthers on their way to a 4-1 victory and a Class 5A regional home berth on Tuesday at Harms Field.
Haney crushed a two-run home run over the fence in left-center field in the first inning — into the teeth of 30 mph gusts — propelling Great Bend past McPherson in the nightcap of a regular-season-ending softball triangular.
“It looked like a big melon,” said Haney of Morgan Swisher’s offering for the homer. “It just looked sweet.
“In the first game, I was popping up a lot and kind of guessing a little bit. It felt good, but I didn’t think it would be out with the wind.”
Great Bend lost 5-0 to Hutchinson in the opening game. Hutch then proceeded to blank McPherson 11-0 in the five innings.
Needing a win over McPherson to stay at home instead of possibly going on the road for upcoming regional play, Great Bend (16-4) negated all other scenarios by beating the Lady Bullpups (10-10).
“Our girls have worked hard and that’s what they wanted to be able to do … if they’re going to make it to state, they want to do it off our own home field and now they have a chance to do that,” Great Bend head coach Carrie Minton said.
Haney, a senior pitcher, also had a no-hitter going with one out in the fourth before McPherson’s Paige Regnier singled to left-center. Although Haney battled some early wildness, walking three and hitting two other batters during the first five innings, she still had a shutout going with a 2-0 lead.
McPherson threatened in the sixth when Swisher hit a leadoff single and stole second. But the Lady Panthers were able to get a reversed call by the umpires on a fielder’s choice at third base after Swisher was initially called safe as third baseman Stephanie Morrision tagged her near the base.
After Minton appealed, it was reversed.
“With (Swisher) diving back, the cloud of dust that popped up, the third-base and home-plate umpire, when they talked about it, neither one of them felt like they saw the actual play,” Minton said. “When we called time and came out to talk to them, then the umpire from the second-base side came in and he said from his vantage point, he saw the tag be made.”
Great Bend added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth when consecutive singles by Lexie Brack, Kaitlee Spray and Bonny Boultinghouse produced the first run, with Brack scoring on Boultinghouse’s hit. Emily Seiwert lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to drive in Spray, making it 4-0.
McPherson finally scored in the seventh on Katelyn Stuckey’s RBI groundout, driving in Mariah Wedel, who led off the inning with a single.
Brack finished 2 for 3 at the plate. Stephanie Morrison also had a single for the Lady Panthers.
Hutch 5, Great Bend 0
Hutchinson right-hander Brit Delaney handcuffed the Lady Panthers in throwing a three-hit shutout in Thursday’s opener.
The Salt Hawks rode a four-run surge in the fourth inning. They had five of their seven hits off Great Bend pitcher Abby Morrison in the fourth, highlighted by a two-run home run by Oddessi Hill.
Hutch led 1-0 in the first after Daisha Smith singled, moved to second on a sacrifice and on to third on a wild pitch. She later scored on Haley McCue’s base hit to left.
Great Bend had a runners on base in every inning but the seventh, where it went down in order. Yet it never was able to break through.
In the second, the Lady Panthers had runners on second and third after Spray hit a one-out single and Boultinghouse drew a walk, but they were left stranded.
After Hutch built its lead to 3-0 in the fourth, Hill deposited Abby Morrison’s offering directly over the 200 sign in left field with Delaney aboard to put the Salt Hawks in command.
Morrison totaled seven strikes, and offensively, Nicole Reiter, Spray and Boultinghouse accounted for Great Bend’s three singles.
Great Bend, which committed three errors, also made some stellar plays in the field.
In the first, freshman catcher McKenna Mauler made a throw to second with a Hutch runner on third. Shortstop Haney cut off the throw and threw home, where Mauler blocked the plate and made the tag on Sarah Rothke while holding onto the ball to end the inning.
Lady Panthers first baseman Emily Seiwert made a long stretch at first base on a close play on an infield grounder, and also caught a pop fly to start an inning-ending double play in the sixth.
HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL
At Great Bend
Hutchinson 5, Great Bend 0
123 456 7 R H E
Hutchinson 100 400 0 — 5 7 2
Great Bend 000 000 0 — 0 3 3
Brittany Delaney & Sara Rothke; Abby Morrison & McKenna Mauler. W — Delaney. L — Morrison. 2B — Hutchinson (Emily Yoder). HR — Hutchinson (Oddessi).
Hutchinson 11, McPherson 0
Great Bend 4, McPherson 1
123 456 7 R H E
McPherson 000 000 1 — 1 3 1
Great Bend 200 002 x — 4 7 1
Morgan Swisher & Mariah Wedel; Jordan Haney & Stephanie Morrison. W — Haney. L — Swisher. HR — Great Bend (Haney).