Outlaws earn pair of ties at rain-shortened tourney
The Lansing Outlaws had looked forward to the Hidden Valley Tournament in Blue Springs, Mo., because it was supposed to provide four days of softball fun in the sun.
It turned out to be hardly that.
Instead of playing four days, the Outlaws played only Saturday and Sunday and barely completed three games because thunderstorms washed out the rest of the weekend.
"They probably should've rained it out but they had so many teams from out of town that they felt like they had to try to get something in," Outlaws coach Russ Stark said, explaining that the 12-team tournament included squads from as far away as St. Louis.
Instead of canceling the tournament completely, the format was shortened to the point that only pool play games were completed. Had the Outlaws won their final game, they would have placed third.
They tied their first two games, 3-3 and 4-4, in extra innings, before allowing a late lead to slip away in game three. They lost that final contest 2-1 in an extra inning.
"We were in every game," Stark said. "If they wouldn't have been behind schedule (because of the rain), they would've gone ahead and played them out, but they were trying to get in as many games as they could so they just played one extra inning and if you were tied, you were tied."
The Outlaws were lucky to even complete those three games. Stark said the first game was supposed to be played at 4 p.m. Saturday, but rainfall delayed the start until 9 p.m. The 8 a.m. Sunday game began on time, but the 9 a.m. game was interrupted with a three-hour rain delay before it could be completed.
"It makes for a long weekend when you just sit there at the park (waiting through rain delays)," Stark said.
The delays also made it tough for the squad to stay consistent. Stark said it seemed that just as his team was getting warmed up the rain would start again.
"In the first game, we were the home team and Jessica Kane was pitching," Stark said. "We got them three-up, three-down, and then we batted. Then it started raining again."
As frustrating as the delays were, Stark said he was proud of his squad for persevering. He said his players performed well for most of the tournament. He said Kane and Dana Sanders both threw effectively on the mound and he cited Carolyn McKune and Erica Rios for their strong defensive play.
Although the Outlaws played well, Stark said he just wished they could have played more games. After all, he said, there was plenty of top-notch competition at the tournament that would have made his players better.
"There were some pretty good teams from Mound City (Mo.), a team from St. Louis and there were some teams from eastern Missouri," he said. "There were pretty good teams and they were coming up here looking to qualify for nationals. But we hit the ball well this weekend. We actually put some hits together in a row and played pretty good defense."
The Outlaws were scheduled to play a doubleheader Wednesday night against the Lady Jets at Basehor Field of Dreams. Results of that game can be found at lansingcurrent.com.
The Outlaws next play at 6:15 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. Wednesday against the Lightning Strikers at Field of Dreams.
Twisters rained out
The Leavenworth Twisters, a 16-and-under softball team that includes Lansing High sophomores-to-be Morgan Chiles and Amanda Darrow, was scheduled to participate in the Mills' Trophies Tournament of Champions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Basehor Field of Dreams. Numerous rain delays eventually proved to be too much of an obstacle, however, and the tournament was canceled Sunday afternoon when another batch of storms approached the softball complex.
The Twisters went 1-1 in pool play. They were midway through their third game when the tournament ultimately was canceled.
The Twisters were slated to begin league play on Wednesday night in the Olathe Premier League at the Olathe Girls' Softball Complex.