Goddard High School had momentum heading into the Class 5A regional softball tournament championship game on Tuesday evening at the Great Bend Sports Complex.
The Lady Lions were coming off a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Valley Center to advance just minutes before starting the title game.
Goddard, which improved to 17-3, rode that momentum and the arm of starting pitcher Megan Graf to a 6-0 victory over Great Bend.
“She was tough,” GBHS head coach Carrie Minton said of Graf. “She came out fired up. They came off of a really big win in that second game. They had the momentum going with them.
“Unfortunately for us, we gave up a big inning. At the plate, we just struggled trying to zone in on her screwball.”
With the win, the Lady Lions advance to the 5A state tournament, which will start on Thursday, May 23, at Two Rivers Youth Complex in Wichita.
Goddard started sophomore Graf against Great Bend ace Hunter Middleton.
Graf pitched the entire seven innings of Goddard’s semifinal game, and went the distance against the Lady Panthers.
She scattered three hits in the championship game, striking out five and walking one.
Middleton also pitched seven innings. She had nine strikeouts, gave up nine hits and handed out two walks.
“Hunter worked hard out there,” Minton said. “She threw a great game, and she was facing some of the better hitters we’ve seen this year. (Morgan) Bohanan, she’s tough to throw to.”
Goddard struck first, scoring four runs in the top of the third.
Jenna Clasen led off with a single, and was driven in by a Miranda Rohleder double. Rohleder later scored on a passed ball, and Megan Dougherty drvoe in a pair of runs with a single.
Bohanan hit a double to lead off the top of the fifth for the Lady Lions. She was driven in by a Dougherty single to increase their lead to 5-0.
Goddard made it 6-0 in the seventh on an RBI single from Graf.
Great Bend had a couple of chances to score, including having Stephanie Morrison in scoring position with two outs in the third, but she was caught stealing third to end the inning.
“We hit the ball,” Minton said. “We just couldn’t get base hits. We put the ball in play, and they did their job. We just couldn’t find those hits in our second game.”
The Lady Panthers finish their season at 18-4.
“It’s tough when you have an 18-4 season to end the way it did today,” Minton said. “The girls had high expectations. We had a great group of seniors. We couldn’t ask for better leadership from out three seniors. It’s unfortunate that we lose that part of our team now.”
Great Bend seniors include Morrison, Bonny Boultinghouse and Samantha Dreilling.
HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL
Class 5A Regional Tournament
At Great Bend
Great Bend Sports Complex
Goddard 4, Valley Center 3
123 456 7 R H E
Valley Center 200 010 0 — 3 10 3
Goddard 000 020 2 — 4 7 1
Miranda Trible & Taylor Johnson; Megan Graf & Megan Dougherty. W — Graf. L — Trible. 2B — Valley Center (Megan Barnes); Goddard (Morgan Bohanan). HR — Goddard (Bohanan).
Goddard 6, Great Bend 0
123 456 7 R H E
Goddard 004 010 1 — 6 9 1
Great Bend 000 000 0 — 0 3 2
Megan Graf & Megan Dougherty. Hunter Middleton & Hannah Mauler. W — Graf. L — Middleton. 2B — Goddard (Miranda Rohleder, Morgan Bohanan); Great Bend (McKenna Mauler).