HUTCHINSON — The Great Bend High School softball team’s hopes of a first-round home game in a Class 5A regional tournament were dashed after dropping the first game of a doubleheader with Hutchinson on Thursday.
The Lady Panthers led 8-5 heading into the bottom of the seventh, but Hutchinson rallied to win 9-8 with a walk-off single. Great Bend regrouped to win the second game, 4-0.
“We had a couple of errors, and they had a single that loaded the bases,” Great Bend head coach Carrie Minton said. “Looks like we never recorded an out (in the bottom of the seventh). It was a tough one.”
With Hunter Middleton on the mound, the Lady Panthers put together run support in the first four innings.
Great Bend was tied 2-2 heading into the top of the third. The Lady Panthers were able to score five runs in the inning to jump ahead 7-2.
Hutch scratched back into it by scoring a run in the bottom of the third and two in the fourth, setting up its rally in bottom of the seventh.
“We just weren’t in a position to make the plays,” Minton said of the seventh. “Hutch had some good hits, so credit to them for sticking with it. Hunter threw a great game. They just were able to hit some balls and drop them right over the infield.”
The Lady Panthers were able to lock down on defense in the second game, shutting out the Salthawks 4-0.
“We talked to the girls about there is not any time to relax,” Minton said. “The second game is just as important. We can’t focus on any of the mistakes that we made.
“We turned four double plays in that second game. I was really proud of how the girls turned it around in that second game.
With the split, Great Bend will be a third seed in a Class 5A regional tournament at Goddard Eisenhower Tuesday.
“With that loss, that could tie us with Valley Center,” Minton said. “They played (Thursday) and again (today). We won’t know officially until this weekend.
“If we’re a three seed, we play at Goddard-Eisenhower."
Great Bend plays Liberal (9-11) at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Goddard Eisenhower. Eisenhower (17-3) meets Wichiat West (0-18) at 3 p.m. The semifinal winners play at 6 p.m. Tuesday.