Bishop Ward upends BLHS in softball regional finals
Errors, inconsistency on offense doom Bobcats in 5-1 season-ending loss
Eudora This wasn’t how the Basehor-Linwood softball team envisioned the season ending.
They didn’t expect the Eudora High School administrator to hand them a second-place trophy after a 5-1 loss to Bishop Ward on Tuesday in the Class 4A regional championship game.
They didn’t expect the tears to flow this early in the year. They didn’t expect one bad inning to send them home for the summer as a team and individually on their way to summer softball seasons.
They didn’t expect to watch Bishop Ward celebrate a trip to the state tournament with a first-place trophy.
Rather, they had hoped to win the tournament and qualify for state.
After the game, BLHS coach Susan Mayberry gathered the team in left field as players fought back tears. She spoke briefly about the game, but additional words would come later.
“There is nothing you do say to a champion,” she said. “They know words mean nothing. It hurts when you lose, and it hurts when you play as hard as we did all year. It is tough when you come out, and you expect to win.”
The game turned in the sixth inning. With the score tied, 1-1, Bishop Ward’s first three hitters reached base on singles to load the bases.
Pitcher Shelby Pierce struck out the next batter.
The Cyclones took the lead on a squeeze play, which was close at the plate. The Cyclones scored additional runs on a single, a throwing error and a ball that ricocheted off Pierce’s foot and rolled into center field before Pierce struck out a Bishop Ward batter to end the inning.
Basehor-Linwood had runners at second and third base with two outs in the bottom half of the inning, but could not score a run.
Neither team scored in the seventh inning.
“Anytime you are in the championship game, it comes down to who makes plays,” Mayberry said. “Hats off to Ward; They made plays when they had to.”
Pierce and her Bishop Ward counterpart Jenny Schneider stymied hitters for the first part of the game.
Bishop Ward scored the first run of the game in the top of the fourth inning. Schneider singled and then reached second base. Later in the inning, she scored on a throwing error.
Basehor-Linwood rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Annie King reached base and later scored on an error.
Throughout the game, Basehor-Linwood had runners advance into scoring position but could not find ways to score runs. In the first inning, the Bobcats had their leadoff hitter reach second base, but failed to score.
In the third inning, Caylee Smith reached base and advanced to third before being stranded in the inning.
“We had opportunities to score and had runners in scoring position, but we just didn’t execute,” Mayberry said.
In the field, the Bobcats committed five errors in the game. The team failed to put up enough runs to help Pierce earn the victory.
“Shelby pitched outstanding. She continues to get better and better. Mentally and physically she has developed into quite a leader,” Mayberry said.
As the Cyclones fans continued celebrating after the game with players hugging, parents congratulating their daughters and children running the bases excited about going to state, Mayberry put the game in perspective.
“The goal from the beginning was to get to state. The kids in the program are used to winning and making things happen,” she said. “We are used to proving people wrong, and as players that is why it hurts so much.”
While the season didn’t end like she or any of her players had envisioned, Mayberry said the team made a statement with its play during the 2009 season.
“Not many people thought we would do anything. They pretty much wrote us off at the beginning of the year, but we always find a way to prove people wrong,” she said. “We did that this year.”
Basehor-Linwood concludes the year with a 15-7 record.
BASEHOR-LINWOOD 8, EUDORA 3
The Bobcats defeated Eudora, 8-3, in the regional semifinals earlier Tuesday.
Eudora committed five errors in the first five innings, and Basehor capitalized. BLHS scored one run in the first inning, three in the second, one in the third, one in the fourth and two more in the fifth to thoroughly erase an early 1-0 deficit.
BASEHOR-LINWOOD 15, ATCHISON 0
Basehor-Linwood wasted no time taking charge of its first-round game in the Class 4A regional tournament on Monday at Eudora. The Bobcats scored early and often along the way to a four-inning, mercy-rule victory against Atchison.