Big in ‘06: Softball seniors earn another state trip
Lansing High's softball senior class of Kasey Denney, Nicole Holland, Jessica Stark, Dana Sanders and Nichole Twitchel have been the program's do-it-all kids for four years.
They were on the 2004 team that was the first to win a regional title and win a state trophy. LHS placed third that year. They led the program to its first Kaw Valley League championship May 10.
"We were the first for KVL, and going back to state for the second time now, we're going for the state title," Sanders said. "It's about our only first left."
That goal remained attainable thanks to a 5-1 victory over Highland Park in the regional semifinals and a 7-4 victory over Topeka Seaman in the finals Tuesday, May 16, at Lansing City Park.
Sanders started on the mound against Highland Park and tossed a four-hit, 12-strikeout masterpiece that set the tone for the day.
Seaman ended Lansing's season in the regional finals last year by beating the Lions 5-0. There would be no repeat performance this time.
In Lansing's first at-bat, Holland ripped a first-pitch single. Sophomore Amanda Darrow followed with a base hit of her own. Although no runs were scored that inning, it was a sign of what was to come.
Seaman took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third, but it wasn't enough to make Lansing buckle. Instead, the Lions struck back with a vengeance. Holland earned a leadoff walk in the bottom of the third. The next two batters got out, but then came a vicious two-out rally that turned the game around. Morgan Chiles singled to left. Jessica Stark reached on an error and loaded the bases. Sanders earned a four-pitch walk that scored Holland. Freshman Brittney Lang cranked a two-run double that put the Lions on top 3-2. Sanders scored on an error. Sara Logan then closed the offensive barrage with an infield single that allowed Lang to trot home from third.
The hits kept coming. Holland walked and scored on a double by Twitchel in the fifth inning. Stark opened the sixth inning with a single and later scored when Lang reached on an error. That put LHS safely ahead 7-2.
At state, Lansing took top-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas to extra innings before dropping a 1-0 decision in eight innings.