MANHATTAN — Larned High School’s first state softball tournament appearance since 2001 turned out to be an instant classic.
In a mesmerizing three-hour Class 3A extra-inning battle at Twin Oaks Complex, No. 6 seed Larned outlasted third-seeded McLouth 4-2 in 10 innings to advance to today’s semifinals.
Lady Indians pitcher Brittney Perez struck out 16 in a 10-inning complete game, catcher Summer Snyder crashed a home run and Larned broke a 2-2 stalemate in the top of the 10th. The Lady Indians capitalized on an errant throw back to the mound after a strikeout was recorded to score two runs, helping send the Bulldogs (20-4) packing.
“Sixteen strikeouts,” Larned head coach Carl Miller said. “That was amazing.”
Then he motioned his hand at McLouth’s dugout.
“That’s a good team there,” he said. “I couldn’t be prouder of our kids. They hung in there and played a great game.”
Runs were at a premium in the lengthy first-round game.
Snyder delivered the first jolt to McLouth, unloading a solo blast over the fence in left-center field, her first homer of the season.
Larned made it 2-0 in the fourth after Katie Seeman opened the inning by reaching on an error and moved to third on Perez’s double into the gap in left-center field. Seeman then scored on a wild pitch.
Both teams went silent until McLouth tied the game with a pair of runs in the seventh, sending the game into extra innings.
During one inning, Perez hit a batter and walked two others.
“We have to get in the zone and we have to get it done, you know, me hitting and walking those batters, that’s on me,” Perez said.
“That’s not on my team. I can’t let them down like that. I have to be there for them. They have to get hits. It goes both ways.”
HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL
Class 3A State
Twin Oaks Complex
Larned 4, McLouth 2 (10)
123 456 789 10 R H E
Larned 010 100 000 2 — 4 6 1
McLouth 000 200 000 0 — 2 6 4
Brittney Perez & Summer Snyder; Kaley Patterson, Kendra Leach (4) & Jessie Troupe & Taylor Pope & Troupe. W — Perez. L — Leach. 2B — Larned (Perez); McLouth (K. Patterson). HR — Larned (Summer Snyder).