Softball falls in finals
The Lansing High softball team knew it would be difficult to qualify for state in Class 5A this season, but the Lions also knew they had a shot if they played their best ball at the end of the season.
The Lions (10-8) did just that during the final weeks of the season. They won six of their last eight games and put a good scare into No. 2-seed Topeka Seaman (17-5) in the regional championship game. Ultimately their best wasn't quite enough, though, as the Vikings knocked off LHS 5-0 on Tuesday evening in Topeka.
The Lions beat Highland Park 8-1 earlier in the day in the regional semifinals.
Lansing coach Terry Cornett said he wasn't disappointed with the loss because he knew his players gave their best effort against Seaman, one of the state's top teams all year.
"When it was 0-0 going into the fourth inning I think (the Vikings) were kind of taken back by that," LHS coach Terry Cornett said. "But we just couldn't put them away or get a run."
LHS found its knockout punch in the sixth inning of the game with Highland Park. The Lions plated seven runs in the inning as Dana Sanders, Emma Hoagland, Amanda Darrow, Maggie Aus and Jessica Kane all collected RBIs.
That same spark didn't quite happen against Seaman, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. The Vikings simply played outstanding defense.
"We really hit the ball," Cornett said. "Their third baseman snuffed out at least four. The pitcher caught two line-drives right back at her. The shotstop had a cannon and we couldn't get anything past her. Their left fielder made two superb catches."
Holland, a junior outfielder, said the Lions played their best ball in their final game.
"Even though we didn't get to go to state, everyone still was really proud of how it ended," she said. "We all played really good."
The Lions lose five seniors to graduation, but Tuesday wasn't the final time they will be playing together. With the exception of Hoagland, the rest of the seniors and a handful of underclassmen will begin playing summer club softball next week with the Lansing Outlaws.
"I'm really excited to be playing with them again," said Kane, a senior pitcher. "It's going to be a lot of fun."