BY JIM MISUNAS
Great Bend pitcher Shanaeia Mehlhaff completed a softball sweep with a sparkling defensive play moments after shortstop Olivia Urban delivered a diving catch.
The Panthers stunned rival Hays High 3-2 and 7-6 in style Friday, delivering clutch defensive plays to complement Mehlhaff’s solid pitching.
Urban preserved the second-game victory with a diving catch on Madelyn Waddell leading off the seventh inning. Mehlhaff recorded the final out on a hard-hit ball by Jaysa Wichers.
The Panthers (6-8, 4-2 WAC) snapped a six-game losing streak to drop Hays High (5-7, 0-4) into fourth place. The Panthers play defending WAC champion Garden City (6-4, 4-0 WAC) Thursday.
GREAT BEND 3, HAYS 2 (G1) – Great Bend scored single runs in the first three innings as Mehlhaff threw five shutout innings.
Aleah Urban, batting .550, tripled to lead off the first inning and raced home when the relay was mishandled. Kaylee Unruh walked and scored on a second-inning error. Shailey Clark singled home Olivia Urban after a single and an error for a 3-0 lead after three innings.
The Panthers ran themselves out of two potential rallies when leadoff batters Unruh and Jenna Mauler were thrown out attempting to take an extra base.
Panther first baseman Cailee McMullen nearly caught MacKenzie Fagan’s foul pop to end a sixth-inning threat. But Fagan’s double scored Wichers and Shyann Shumacher. Brooke Denning flew out to end the inning.
GREAT BEND 7, HAYS 6 (G2) – Great Bend’s Baylee Beck scored on a fielding error for the game-winning sixth-inning run. Beck singled, moved to second base on Urban’s bunt and scored when Clark’s ground ball was misplayed.
Leanna Harman delivered an RBI single and Fagan scored on an error for a 2-0 Hays lead. Harmon’s RBI double gave the Indians a 3-0 lead.
Aleah Urban singled home Beck and Clark doubled home Urban Clark scored on Brenna Bownes’ groundout for a 3-3 tie. Kaylee Unruh’s inside-the-park homer gave the Panthers a 4-3 lead.
Wichers drilled a three-run homer off Mehlhaff for a 6-4 lead in the fifth inning. Clark and Bownes delivered back-to-back doubles and Bownes scored on an error for a 6-6 tie after five innings.
Hays High 000 002 0 – 2 6 3
Great Bend 111 000 x – 3 7 1
Brown and Fagan. Shana Mehlhaff and Unruh. W—Shana Mehlhaff. L--Brown. 2B—H—Fagan. 3B—GB--Aheah Urban.
Hays High 201 030 0 – 6 8 5
Great Bend 003 121 x – 7 10 6
Wichers and Fagan. Shana Mehlhaff and Unruh. W—Shana Mehlhaff. L--Wichers. 2B—GB—Clark 2, Bownes; H—Brown, Harman. HR—GB—Unruh; H—Wichers.