GODDARD — The first-round game for the Great Bend High School softball team at a Class 5A regional tournament proved to be similar to its regular season meetings with Liberal.
The Lady Panthers breezed past Liberal 11-1 in six innings, but fell in the regional championship to host Goddard-Eisenhower 2-1 on Tuesday.
“We felt good about the way the girls played,” GBHS head coach Carrie Minton said. “A 2-1 loss playing as well as we did, we can live with that. It would have been nice to come away with the win, but we were proud with the way our girls played today.”
The Lady Tigers struck first in the bottom of the first inning of the championship game.
It wasn’t until the top of the fifth that the Lady Panthers found some offensive life.
Kelsie Doll led off the inning with a walk and later scored on an RBI single from Stephanie Morrison, making it 1-1.
In the bottom of the sixth, Eisenhower was able to plate the go-ahead run.
Lakin Lindsey got on base to start the inning, and a sacrifice bunt advanced her to second base.
Madison Demel hit a grounder and was out at first.
On the same play, Great Bend first baseman Elizabeth Barber tried to catch the runner advancing to third, but over threw Morrison, allowing Lindsey to score.
“It was sad that an error played such a big part in the game, but in no way was that the only reason that we lossed,” Minton said. “We had runners on base that we could have gotten home, but didn’t. At this level, errors count, but by no means was that the only reason we lost.”
Eisenhower pitcher Kayla Valentine struck out the last six Great Bend batters to close out the game.
“Goddard Eisenhower is a very tough team,” Minton said. “They have a very good pitcher in Valentine. She stepped it up big in the last two innings. She struck out the side to win the game.”
Hunter Middleton went all seven innings for Great Bend, which finishes the season at 17-5 overall, scattering six hits.
Great Bend 11, Liberal 1
Great Bend started scoring immediately against a familiar Western Athletic Conference foe.
Morrison got on base and was later driven in by Elizabeth Barber in the bottom of the first inning.
After loading the bases, Braylin Bretz drew a walk to move home McKenna Mauler to make it 2-0 after one inning.
“It was kind of what happened when we went to Liberal,” Minton said. “We scored two runs in the first inning, but I think we left the bases loaded. We left a lot of runners on base.
The Lady Panthers piled on the runs in the bottom of the second, scoring eight runs on four hits and two Liberal errors while batting through the order and then some to make it 10-0.
“When we got out of that big inning, we settled into a comfort zone,” Minton said. “Liberal didn’t give up. That’s what carried it into the sixth inning.”
Barber was 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI double. Hannah Mauler went 2-for-3, and Dakota Sanders had a walk, reached on a fielder’s choice and had an RBI single.
Bretz started the first two innings in the circle and was relieved by Hunter Middleton, who pitched two innings. Bretz came back in the fifth and finished the game for the Lady Panthers.
“We just wanted to give both pitchers a chance to throw at game speed,” Minton said.
The Lady Redskins were able to plate a runner in the fifth to make it 10-1.
Great Bend scored in the bottom of the sixth to invoke the 10-run rule.
In fact, the Lady Panthers won the first game the same way Eisenhower won the second.
“Kelsie Doll was on second and Dakota Sanders put the ball in play,” Minton said. “They got Dakota at first and tried to catch Kelsie as she rounded third. They over threw third base which allowed Kelsie to score.”
— Kevin Price
CLASS 5A REGIONAL
Goddard-Eisenhower 2, Great Bend 1
123 456 7 R H E
Great Bend 000 010 0 — 1 4 1
Eisenhower 100 001 x — 2 6 0
Middleton & Mauler; Valentine & Teres. 2B — Sanders.
Great Bend 11, Liberal 1
123 456 R H E
Liberal 000 010 — 1 0 3
Great Bend 280 001 — 11 11 2
Darroch & Hasik; Bretz, Middleton & Sanders, Mauler. W — Bretz; L — Darroch. 2B — Great Bend: M. Mauler; Barber.