Lady ‘Cats split in season opener
Entering the 2002 season, Basehor-Linwood softball coach Susan Mayberry was not sure what identity her team would have.
After splitting a season-opening doubleheader with Bonner Springs on Wednesday, March 27, Mayberry has some idea.
"The split was a starting point for us," Mayberry said. "We're still looking for some offense, but we were in a position to win both of those games and as a coach, that's all you can ask for."
On a windy day in Edwardsville, both the Bobcats and Bravettes battled the majority of both games without producing much offense.
In game one, both teams were kept off the scoreboard until the fourth inning. In the top of the fourth, BLHS senior Kara Lackner delivered a leadoff single and advanced to third base on a throwing error.
Lackner scored after a wild pitch during the next at bat to make the score 1-0. Senior Kelleigh Gorup then followed Lackner's single with one of her own. She, too, eventually made her way to third base and scored on an error by the Bonner Springs third baseman. That made the score 2-0 and that was more than enough for BLHS's starting pitcher, senior Emily Hoffman. Hoffman pitched seven innings for the win and Mayberry said she was pleased with Hoffman's effort.
"Emily was put in this position she wasn't going to pitch for us this year, but now she is," Mayberry said. "She'll do whatever she can to help us win and she pitched real well in the opener."
Bonner Springs answered BLHS's scoring spurt with one run in the bottom of the fourth, but Hoffman retired nine of 10 batters during the final three innings to preserve the win.
Game two saw even less offense than the first game. In the nightcap, BLHS sent junior Abby Ross to the mound while BSHS countered with game one starter Kristi Holt. Both pitchers breezed through the first six innings with relative ease.
In the seventh inning, with the score tied at 0-0, BLHS sophomore Sara Wohletz reached on an error and advanced to third on a passed ball. Hoffman, who had reached on a bunt, went to second on the passed ball and the Bobcats had two runners in scoring position with one out. Holt retired the next two batters, however, and the Bravettes and Bobcats moved into extra innings after BSHS went down 1-2-3 in the seventh.
In the top of the eighth, BLHS did little to threaten the scoreless tie. In the bottom of the eighth, BSHS leadoff hitter Ashley Pardew reached first base with a walk. After reaching third on a bunt, Pardew came in to score the winning run.
Mayberry said she was disappointed by her team's late-game execution, but earning a split was better than losing both games.
"Any time you split, you look at one or two plays and think how you could've won both games," Mayberry said. "We didn't do a very good job of executing the bunt to get the runners over late in that game and it cost us. But overall, I was pleased with our effort and our consistency. It was a good starting point."