The Larned High School softball team didn’t have the easiest road to the Class 3A state tournament at the Twin Oaks Complex in Manhattan on May 27.
It is the first time since 2001 that the Lady Indians have made the state tournament, according to Larned head coach Carl Miller.
As the No. 4 seed, the Lady Indians, who are 14-9 on the season and who entered the Scott City regional 9-9, had to win three games before claiming the regional championship.
“It would have been nice to have a better record,” Miller said. “We lost some games over the season that I thought we could have won, but we weren’t in a bad spot.
“If we won our game, we knew we would have to face Goodland, and they were a very good team.”
Larned’s first challenge was Southwestern Heights.
“When we played Southwestern Heights, we played well,” Miller said. “We didn’t pitch (Brittney) Perez in that first game. She hurt her index finger (on her pitching hand) in practice.”
Instead, the Lady Indians put Katie Seaman on the mound. She pitched three innings and Kala Coulson finished the game, pitching one inning.
The Lady Indians put that game away with a 16-1 score in four innings.
Next came the No. 1-seeded Goodland, which was 17-3 on the season entering the second-round game.
“Perez pitched all seven innings against Goodland,” Miller said. “In fact between innings, she soaked her finger in our cooler. She should be OK for the state tournament. She was fielding a ground ball at third base in practice and the ball just took a bad hop. The doctor checked it out and it wasn’t broken or anything.”
Larned blanked the Cowgirls 10-0 to advance to the regional championship game.
In the regional championship game, the Lady Indians faced the No. 2-seeded Scott City.
Larned beat Scott City, 13-1, winning the regional championship while only giving up two runs.
“It is big,” Miller, who is in his second year as head coach of the Lady Indians said. “We’re hoping that our program stays strong. We have a good group of freshmen coming in. We really have a good class all the way through.
“I am just really happy for the senior girls. It seems like they have gotten so close to this experience in each sport this year.”