WICHITA — The offense is back.
Lifted by two home runs in Game 1, the Great Bend High School softball team collected two more run-rule victories, beating Wichita North 16-1 in three innings and 20-0 in 2 1/2 innings on Thursday.
“We hit the ball really well today,” GBHS head coach Carrie Minton said. “We were much more patient at the plate. We were more selective, and we hit the ball hard.
“The girls took advantage of a young team running the bases. Our pitchers threw great games. Our defense did what it needed to behind them.”
While it could be argued that the offense never left, Great Bend scored a total of nine runs in a pair of games against Dodge City on Tuesday, following a 41-run performance at Liberal a week before.
Now the Lady Panthers unleashed for 36 in only five innings.
“We hit the ball hard the other day,” said Minton, “but with the wind, the ball hung up in the air a lot more, letting them make plays on the ball that they might not have been able to do.
“Today, the weather was great. We were hitting some gaps and running the bases hard.”
The Lady Panthers blasted North with seven runs in each of the first two innings before Great Bend allowed its only run of the evening.
Braylin Bretz took the mound for Great Bend in Game 1, allowing two hits and striking out four batters.
The one run was unearned.
The Lady Panthers had 14 hits spread between eight players.
Kacee Kasselman led things against for Great Bend, going 3-for-3 with a double and a three-run, inside-the-park home run.
Tarynn Stueder hit the other inside-the-park home run, a solo shot. She went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs.
Kaylie Doll and Dakota Sanders each had two RBIs, and Kelsie Doll, Elizabeth Barber and Regan Unruh each had one RBI.
Great Bend was the home team in Game 2, scoring 14 runs in the first inning and six runs in the second to crush North.
The Lady Panthers had 17 hits from 11 players.
Hannah Mauler led the offense with four RBIs, going 2-for-2 with a pair of singles.
Lauren Welsch, Kaylie Doll and Hunter Middleton each had two RBIs, and Stueder, Barber, McKenna Mauler and Taylor Mohr each had one RBI.
Just like Game 1, the offensive onslaught was backed up by a strong pitching performance.
Middleton went all three innings in the circle for Great Bend.
Of the nine outs needed for the three innings, Middleton got eight through strikeouts. She allowed one walk but no hits.
Great Bend hosts Hays on Tuesday.
— Kevin Price