BY MACK McCLURE
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 her first 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. unloading a solo blast over the fence in left-center field, her first homer of the season.
Larned (15-9) plays No. 2 seed Osage City (21-3) at 10 this morning in the semis. Osage City edged Halstead 1-0, top-seeded Caney Valley edged Marysville 4-3 and Frontenac beat Hillsboro 3-1 in the other first-round games.
The other 10 a.m. semifinal pits Caney Valley against Frontenac.
Runs were at a premium in the lenghty first-round game.
Snyder delivered the first jolt to McLouth,
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.
When McLouth catcher Jesse Troupe went out of the game after getting hit by a foul tip on the thigh area, she was replaced by Taylor Pope.
Shortly afterward, the move turned out to play a pivotal role in the game.
Tiara Diaz led off the top of the 10th for the Tribe with a walk and moved to second on Kaileigh Dietrich’s base hit, one of six in the game for the Lady Indians.
After Diaz went to third and Dietrich to second on a wild pitch, Pope threw the ball back to the pitcher after a pitch and it got by Leach, enabling both baserunners to score for the eventual game-winning runs. Deletebodycopy
Check out complete coverage of Larned's three Class 3A state softball tournament games in Sunday's edition.