Archive for Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lansing edges Basehor in 23-inning softball thriller

Shelby Pierce of BLHS, Brittney Lang of LHS throw gems in pitcher’s duel

April 30, 2009

— It took four hours to decide frontrunner in the Kaw Valley League softball race on Tuesday.

Basehor-Linwood and Lansing played a marathon softball game that ended in the 23rd inning when Brittney Lang drove home the game-winning run.

The run gave Lansing a 2-1 win and control in the Kaw Valley League race.

The game will be remembered as much for the great defensive plays, timely defense and missed opportunities for both teams as the final score.

It also will likely be remembered as a pitcher’s duel between Basehor-Linwood’s Shelby Pierce and Lansing’s Lang. The two pitchers battled out of jams, recorded strikeouts and stifled opposing hitters.

“I have never been involved in one like that one,” Lansing coach Terry Cornett said. “Both teams had all kinds of opportunities to win the game. I hate seeing anyone have to lose a game like that.”

Basehor-Linwood coach Susan Mayberry said she was proud of the way her players battled.

“I think it speaks for itself if you are here as a fan of softball,” Mayberry said. “We are a team of fighters and are not going to back down from anyone. There was a league title on the line and we wanted to win it.”

Lansing scored first on a home run from Rachel Milnark that gave the team a 1-0 lead.

There was no score the next three innings. Basehor-Linwood tied the game in the fourth inning when Megan Rehm reached second base with a hit. She attempted to steal third base and then scored on a wild throw.

It was the last run to cross the plate until Lang’s hit in the bottom of the 23rd.

Both teams had opportunities to score at numerous points in the game. Lansing would advance runners into scoring position only to watch as Pierce pitched out of a jam. Often, she was helped by tremendous defensive plays behind her.

Pierce pitched out of jams in the 15th and 17th innings. Basehor-Linwood’s defense was stellar behind her. Infielders fielded line drives with ease. Outfielders made the routine plays.

In the 20th inning, Olivia Cowans made a diving catch near the left field corner on a hit that could have gone for extra bases. Each time that Lansing got a runner to second base, BLHS players tightened up defensively.

In the 23rd inning, Lansing finally broke through. After a leadoff single and a walk, Lang smacked a hit that brought home the winning run and ended the marathon game.

Basehor-Linwood players heaped praise on Pierce’s performance, calling it amazing the way she battled through each inning.

“You can’t tire when you are a champion,” Mayberry said of Pierce’s tireless performance.

Pierce continually battled against Lions batters during the game. She wasn’t thinking much, just trying to win a game.

“I think it was more adrenaline than mental,” she said. “I wanted to win and focus on every batter and do what I could to get them out.”

After the game she was a little tired, but she said playing 23 innings was a lot of fun.

“It was a blast. It is something you might not get to do more than once. Somebody had to lose,” Pierce said. “I think we showed we are ready to finish the season strong and ready for regionals. We can face anybody now.”

At the plate, the Bobcats had solid cuts against Lang who is slated to play division one softball next season. BLHS runners reached base in the 17th and 18th innings but were unable to score. In the 20th inning, Tiffany Jennings reached base on a single and advanced to third base, but failed to score as Lang pitched out of the inning.

Basehor knocked on the door again in the 21st inning when Rehm reached base on a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. She later advanced to third base, but failed to score.

The length of the game caused the second game to be postponed. Mayberry said she wanted to play the game, but it wasn’t her decision.

“You plan on playing two; the kids wanted to play,” she said.

It is not known if the game will be rescheduled. Basehor-Linwood plays host to Turner today.

“We played hard and played with guts. We played to win,” Mayberry said. “Thursday is a new day, we just move on. We have nothing to complain about tonight. I am proud of our softball team. The fans, community and school can be proud of our softball team.”

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