Both teams entered the Western Athletic Conference softball doubleheader undefeated.
The Great Bend High School Lady Panthers and the Hays Lady Indians split their twinbill on Thursday at the City of Great Bend Sports Complex to hand each other their first loss of the season.
The Lady Panthers won the first game 3-2 on a walk-off double by pitcher Hunter Middleton, and Hays recovered to win the second game 6-4.
It was a pitchers’ duel in the first game. Great Bend freshman Hunter Middleton and Hays freshman Hannah Hearld kept the opposing team’s defense to one run apiece until the 11th inning.
Middleton ended the duel with a two-run double in the bottom of the 11th to win 3-2.
“She pitched at least 14 innings tonight,” GBHS head coach Carrie Minton said of Middleton. “She played really well in Game 1. Going to the plate with runners in scoring position and hitting that line drive to center field. I couldn’t be happier for her. She the ball well all day.”
Kaylie Doll got on base with two outs in the bottom of the third inning with a bunt. McKenna Mauler followed that with an RBI double to give the Lady Panthers a 1-0 lead.
Great Bend, which is now 13-1 overall, 5-1 in the WAC, led until the top of the sixth inning when Lady Indians senior Makenzie Flaska drove a shot over the left-field wall to tie the game.
After that, neither team scored until the 11th inning.
In the top of the 11th inning, Hays’ Paige Lunsford led off with a walk. A throwing error on Great Bend catcher Hannah Mauler allowed Lunsford to advance to second and a Hearld bunt moved her to third base with one out.
Flaska dropped a bunt and recorded an RBI single to give the Lady Indians a 2-1 edge heading into the bottom of the inning.
McKenna Mauler led off the bottom of the 11th with a single, and Elizabeth Barber followed that with a walk.
The runners advanced to second and third base on a past ball before Hannah Mauler fouled out to the catcher bringing Middleton to the plate.
Middleton crushed a liner into center field to drive in both runs for a walk-off victory.
Hays 6, Great Bend 4
Great Bend trailed the whole way in the second game, but both teams were able to plate runs.
“Hays jumped ahead early in the second game,” Minton said. “Lunsford hit a home run in the first inning.
“But it went back and forth. The girls fought back well. They played really hard, and we couldn’t be more proud of how they played.”
The Lady Panthers were able to tie the game at four runs apiece in the bottom of the sixth inning on a Bonny Boultinghouse base hit.
However, Hays, 11-1 overall, 3-1 WAC, was able to score two runs in the top of the seventh.
“McKenna Mauler, Dakota Sanders and Elizabeth Barber all hit the ball very well in that second game,” Minton said.
“Defensively, we had a great game as well. Tarynn Stueder made a great catch behind second base and Stephanie Morrison was making great plays all day.”
Great Bend hosts Garden City on Thursday. The doubleheader is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.
HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL
Western Athletic Conference
At Great Bend
City of Great Bend
Great Bend 3, Hays 2 (11)
123 456 789 10 11 R H E
HH 000 001 000 0 1 — 2 6 2
GB 001 000 000 0 2 — 3 9 4
Hannah Hearld & Haley Wells; Hunter Middleton & Hannah Mauler. W — Middleton (7-0). L — Hearld. 2B — Hays: Hearld; Great Bend: McKenna Mauler, Hannah Mauler, Middleton (2). HR — Hays: Makenzie Flaska.