Archive for Thursday, June 9, 2005

Outlaws fall in Hitfest semifinals

June 9, 2005

— Six members of the Lansing Outlaws softball team played on the Lansing High varsity squad this spring.

Those six - graduating seniors Maggie Aus, Jessica Kane and Carolyn McKune and seniors-to-be Nicole Holland, Dana Sanders and Jessica Stark - ended the LHS season by winning six of their last eight games, and that hot streak gave the girls confidence that their summer season could be a success. So far, it seems they may be right.

The Outlaws played solid softball this weekend for the better part of four games before falling in the semifinals of the Hawaiian Hitfest, 3-0, to eventual runner-up KC Impact on Sunday at Basehor Field of Dreams. The Outlaws were beating the eventual champion, Midwest Softball Club, 2-1 in pool play before thunderstorms forced the game to be canceled Saturday night.

"We've played a few league games, but this is our first tournament so to get this far is really good," Sanders said.

The Outlaws sparkled during pool play as they went 2-0 and earned a No. 1 seed in the tournament. Dana Sanders threw a six-hitter in the first game, a 2-0 win against the Cannon Blasters, and Jessica Kane fired a three-hitter against KC Impact in the next game, a 3-1 victory.

Lansing knocked off Kelly Express 3-2 in the quarterfinals as Kane received offensive support from plenty of teammates. Jessica Hauver's two hits and Sanders' two-hit effort, including a double, propelled the Outlaws into the next round.

Sanders tossed a three-hitter in the semifinal game against KC Impact, but the Outlaws left eight runners on base and spoiled Sanders' dominating effort.

Although the Outlaws came up just short of a trip to the Hitfest finals, Aus said the squad was pleased that it played well during the tournament and looked forward to the rest of the summer.

"We did better than what we expected coming into our first tournament of the summer," Aus said, "and with that, we have room for improvement. We're going to keep improving and I think by the end of the summer we'll be really good."

Another team featuring Lansing players did well in the tournament, too. The Leavenworth Twisters - whose roster includes LHS sophomores-to-be Morgan Chiles and Amanda Darrow - won the 16A championship 2-1 against the Kansas Khaos, a Wichita-based team.

The Twisters struggled early in the tournament. They were 0-2 in pool play with losses to the Khaos, 2-0, and the Jeff City Heat, 5-2. Their third pool-play game was rained out Saturday night.

On Sunday, however, the Twisters found their stride as they rattled off three straight victories. They beat Sizzle Gold 5-0 in the quarterfinals and then avenged an earlier loss to Jeff City in extra innings, 8-7, in the semifinals. Then, in the title game they gained revenge on the Khaos.

The Twisters' run to the title wouldn't have been possible without Darrow's play. She was solid throughout the tournament, but was never better than late in the semifinal contest. In the fifth inning Darrow crashed into the fence while chasing down a foul ball. She scraped her shoulder on the play but shook it off and delivered the game-winning, two-run double in the bottom of the seventh to propel the Twisters into the finals.

By winning the championship, the Twisters earned an automatic berth in the AFA 16A National Tournament July 25-31 in Olathe.

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