On a chilly afternoon, the Great Bend High School softball team recorded their first wins of the season, opening the season against Larned at the Great Bend Sports Complex.
The Lady Panthers won 8-1 in the lidlifter and 5-3 in the second game.
“We knew coming out that Larned was going to be a tough matchup for us,” GBHS head coach Carrie Minton said. “Not having a lot of practice, we knew we were going to have to rely on fundamentals.
“I felt like we were able to rely on experience in the short amount of time that we had to prepare.”
Great Bend improves to 2-0 on the season, and has more than a week to prepare for its next game, Thursday, April 10, at Hoisington.
Hunter Middleton took a little bit of time to settle in, working the circle for Great Bend in Game 1.
Larned’s Emily Lucas was hit by a pitch and scored on a Maci Perez single to make it 1-0 after one inning.
Middleton didn’t let it get to her. She finished with 14 strikeouts and didn’t allow another run across the plate in seven innings.
“Hunter, we knew coming in, was throwing well,” Minton said. “She’s even improved on where she was last year. Her confidence coming in was at a level that we really didn’t see a lot last year. Hunter’s a great pitcher, but it wasn’t that aggressiveness that we saw today.”
The Lady Panthers got on the scoreboard in the third inning.
Kacee Kasselman got on base with a walk, followed by singles from Kaylie Doll, Kelsie Doll and McKenna Mauler. Kasselman scored on an error, Mauler drove in Kaylie and Elizabeth Barber struck a sacrifice fly to score Kelsie.
Kelsie Doll drove in Kaylie Doll with a single in the fourth inning, and Hannah Mauler hit a double and was plated by a Tarynn Stueder single in the fifth.
Kelsie Doll got a single in the sixth, scoring when Barber reached on an error. Regan Unruh drove in barber with a single to make it 8-1.
“I think Kaylie was 2-for-3 in the first game and Kelsie was 3-for-4 in the second game,” Minton said of the top of her batting order. “It goes back to their experience and maturity. They’ve been playing for a long time, so being able to step out there today and do what they do best, which is get the ball down and use their speed to get on base.
“I felt like everybody came to the plate with a lot of confidence today.”
Braylin Bretz took the mound for Great Bend in the second game.
Bretz gave up three runs and struck out four batters.
The Lady Panthers gave Bretz a lead straight out of the gate.
Barber and Stueder hit RBI singles and Great Bend found itself ahead 3-0 after one inning.
Kaylie Doll hit a double and scored on a single from Kelsie Doll.
A pair of Larned base runners crossed the plate due to Great Bend errors, and Shay Shepherd hit an RBI single to make it 4-3 in the fourth inning.
Barber capped the scoring, hitting a triple and scoring on a McKenna Mauler sacrifice fly.
HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL
At Great Bend
Great Bend Sports Complex
Great Bend 8, Larned 1
123 456 7 R H E
Larned 100 000 0 — 1 3 1
GBHS 004 112 X — 8 10 3
Shay Shepherd & Alexis Langdon. Hunter Middldeton & Hannah Mauler. 2B — Great Bend (H. Mauler).
Great Bend 5, Larned 3
123 456 7 R H E
Larned 000 300 0 — 3 3 0
GBHS 310 010 x — 5 8 1
Emily Lucas & Alexis Langdon. Braylin Bretz & Dakota Sanders. 2B — Larned (Makenzie Harper); Great Bend (Kaylie Doll). 3B — Great Bend (Sanders).