Bravettes fall at regional softball tournament
The Bonner Springs softball team had an upset on its mind during its Class 5A regional first-round game on Wednesday, May 14, at Seaman High School in Topeka.
The Bravettes were unable to pull off the victory, however, and they lost to Topeka West, 5-2.
Sadie Kelly of Bonner Springs and Jaclyn Annis of Topeka West each pitched effectively for their teams and the game was tight most of the way.
West jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning on a throwing error and then capitalized on a sacrifice bunt.
Bonner Springs coach Roger Davidson said his team started out a little tight and nervous, which contributed to the early deficit.
"We had our best practice of the year Tuesday night," he said. "It was a goal of ours to get an early lead. Unfortunately, we were unable to make that happen."
However, his team responded in the top of the fourth inning. With two outs and no one on base, consecutive singles by Kelly and Carli Turner, followed by a double by Chelsea Parr, tied the score at 2-2 and put the Bravettes right back into the game.
"I thought we had taken the momentum, but (Topeka West) came out in the bottom of the fourth and took it back," Davidson said.
In the fateful bottom of the fourth, Alexis Cox hit a two-out, two-run double and gave her team 4-2 lead. Cox scored when Callie Wright singled to make it 5-2 in favor of Topeka West.
Bonner Springs only managed two more singles the rest of the way and didn't mount another scoring threat.
Despite a losing record, this year's 5-16 mark was an improvement upon last year's record.
"It was a challenge, but I really enjoyed it," Davidson said of the season. "We put in a lot of work, so it was rewarding to see the girls develop as the year went along. We are losing four seniors, but we have some young girls who really contributed. I hope to build up through our JV team and incoming freshmen and try to keep improving next year. We play in a really tough league, but maybe two or three years from now we will be able to compete for a league title."
It sounds like the Bonner Springs softball team will have one thing back next year that it had not had in the past three years: a coach. Davidson plans to stick around and continue to build the program.
Improving upon a 5-16 record seems possible if a couple of things happen. The first challenge will be to find a consistent pitcher and catcher combination to replace Kelly and Chelsea Crouch. Secondly, Davidson said BSHS needs to get to the point where it plays an entire game of defensive softball without making errors that lead to runs.
"All year we would play five really solid innings, but there was always that one inning where we had a lapse defensively that led to runs for the other team," Davidson said. "We do not have the kind of offensive power to overcome those kinds of mistakes."
With a solid and experienced nucleus returning next year, Davidson hopes the Braves can inch closer to a .500 record.
Kelly and junior outfielder Starian Porchia both were selected to the All-Kaw Valley League second team.