Sixth-inning struggles doom Basehor
Errors, homer cut Lady ‘Cats’ season short
It was all there for the Basehor-Linwood softball team on Tuesday night: Shelby Pierce was cruising along on the mound, the defense was playing well, and the offense had done enough to provide a 2-0 cushion through five and a half innings over No. 1 seed Perry-Lecompton.
But a nightmarish bottom of the sixth inning, which will likely haunt the Lady Bobcats over the offseason, ended that.
Emily Huerter led off with an attempted running bunt, a practice that had repeatedly failed for the Kaws up until that point. After the ball was put in play, two BLHS throwing errors landed Huerter on third base. Courtney Kasson knocked her in on the next at-bat, slicing a double to right field.
This brought up Shelby Erickson. Pierce threw a fastball down the middle that Erickson crushed to center field. The sophomore must have known where the ball was going to land the second it left her bat, because she tossed the aluminum aside and threw her arms upward as the ball lifted into the overcast sky. It finally landed beyond the center field fence.
Two-run homer. 3-2 Kaws lead.
That ended up being the final score, although BLHS made it interesting in the top of the seventh by advancing a runner to third only to strand her.
"It's sad, because we were playing right with them," said coach Susan Mayberry, who was emotional after the game. "An error cost us the game. I'm happy we came to play. We were in it to the end. We put ourselves in a position to win."
The sixth inning ruined what had been a great outing for Pierce - she had sailed through five-plus innings with the shutout. After the home run, however, Pierce was visibly frustrated and hit the next two batters before Mayberry removed her for Tiffany Jennings.
At one point it appeared that neither offense would ever get going. It took until the fourth inning before a run was put up by either side. The Lady 'Cats struck first, when Chelsey Patton hit a one-out triple to right field. Mayberry then called for a suicide squeeze, which was perfectly executed by Megan Rehm. Patton slid under the tag applied by the catcher and the score was 1-0. BLHS added to its lead in the next inning when an error on a bunt allowed courtesy runner Caylee Smith to score.
The loss came after the Lady 'Cats had knocked off No.4-seed Piper (12-8) on the previous night. The Kaws defeated Atchison on Monday.
Kasson pitched the complete game and notched the victory for the PLHS. The Kaws advanced to state later that night.
"I think she mixes her pitches very well," Mayberry said. "You have to take advantage of opportunities when you put the ball in play. We missed on those opportunities."
The loss ended the Lady 'Cats' season a game before what would have been a home game in a regional championship. BLHS ended the season 11-9.
Mayberry had a lengthy discussion with the team after the game on an adjacent field.
"I thanked the five seniors," Mayberry said. "We had four good years together. Some coaches can go a whole career without that kind of talent. It hurts."
BLHS will say goodbye to seniors Patton, Jordanne Leiker, Codi Schierbaum, Jennifer Sirridge and Maggie Schroeder.