Lady ‘Cats pass test in sweep of Cyclones
Basehor-Linwood softball pitcher Erin Shore faced a dilemma Tuesday night at home against Bishop Ward. In the top of the third inning with the score tied 1-1, an error at third base put a runner on first. The next batter was quickly walked.
This could have been a juncture in the game when nerves set in and a rally ensued. Shore quickly put to rest those doubts, setting down the next eight batters she faced in order before lightning in the area caused the game to be temporarily suspended. An hour later, the game resumed with Shore finishing off the Lady Cyclones 5-2.
"Mistakes happen," Shore said. "Shake them off and get ready for the next play."
Shore also was 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles and the go-ahead RBI before the suspension.
"I just wanted to keep everyone pumped up so that we could keep hitting and scoring, and all of the girls did a good job of keeping each other up and shaking off the errors," Shore said.
The Lady Bobcats spent the hour delay eating Subway sandwiches on the team bus while school and park officials monitored the weather. After no lightning was recorded in a 30-minute span, the doubleheader resumed.
And with it, the Lady 'Cats' bats came alive. In a wild second game, Bishop Ward jumped out to a 5-0 lead before Shore relieved starter Jenna Bunting in the third inning. BLHS scored five runs in its portion of the fifth to tie the score. The Lady Cyclones returned three more runs in the sixth to make it 8-5 before a frenzied four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh won the game for BLHS, 9-8.
"In the second game we had some situations that happened on defense and gave up some runs," BLHS coach Susan Mayberry said. "We had a tremendous response to tie the game up. We started hitting how our team is capable of hitting."
In-game adjustments led to the offensive outburst.
"We just exploded," Mayberry said. "We talk about adjustments and sometimes we seem to be out over our front foot and lunge at the ball and not get a good swing. That puts us in a position where we are hitting a pitcher's pitch instead of a hitter's pitch. Tonight we made adjustments and just started chasing runners around bases."
The pitching helped, as well. Shore received the win in both games.
"I think she pitched well," Mayberry said. "She challenged batters, and that is what we want her to do. In the second game when she came in, she really pitched well. Her rhythm was good, and she was confident in her pitches. She had to fight and grind it out."
Chelsey Patton went 2-for-4 in both games. She scored the winning run in the second game after crossing the plate on Megan Rehm's triple to right center field.
"My batting was definitely on," Patton said. "I got key hits that I needed to at the right time."
What can a large seventh-inning rally do for the team's confidence?
"It helps us a lot," Patton said. "We are pulling together as a team so much better than what I think people thought we would do. Our pitching and hitting have been there when they needed to be."
The win improved the Lady Bobcats' record to 11-3.
"With this team it is a lot about heart and pride," Mayberry said. "It would have been very disappointing to take a split home. This was a huge confidence and momentum builder. We have to have a short memory as far as games go and look to the next part of the schedule."
Mayberry doesn't believe it's necessary to tweak anything with the postseason in sight.
"I just think we need to maintain our consistency," Mayberry said. "I think with regionals in our minds, we would like to build some momentum. It is just a matter of working on the little things and trust each others' play. Our motto has been to play fearless. When something goes wrong, we need to slow down, keep our composure, and stick to the plan."
Before moving on to regionals, the Lady Bobcats will host Bonner Springs on Monday, May 7 at Field of Dreams. In addition to Monday's doubleheader representing a showdown with its rival, the evening will also function as Senior Night for BLHS, a night when the current roster's seniors are honored along side former BLHS softball players.
Game 1 of the doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. The bulk of the Senior Night festivities will take place between the two games at approximately 5:45 p.m.