Archive for Thursday, May 19, 2011

BSHS lacks timely hits in softball loss

May 19, 2011

BASEHOR — Softball season is done at Bonner Springs High School — well, sort of.

The official high school season ended with an 8-2 loss to Piper Monday in the first round of the Class 4A regional tournament at Field of Dreams. A new season is under way for many of the Braves, however, as they prepare to dive right into club ball and begin preparing for next year.

The 2011 season was a year of growth for the young squad, and the drive to make 2012 a breakthrough season was summed up by coach Kara Wardlow’s first conversation after huddling with her team for one last time.

A player came up to Wardlow and asked the second year BSHS coach how she could get involved with a club team in the summer.

“It’s awesome,” Wardlow said of the commitment from her players. “A lot of them want to play at the collegiate level, and it’s a job when you get there. For them to start early and want to grow not only as young women, but as players, is amazing. For me as a coach, that’s great.”

The final loss will serve as motivation for the Braves, Wardlow said. The major lesson was to take advantage of opportunities when they arise — such as hitting with runners in scoring position.

The Braves had numerous chances to score early against Piper, but they left seven runners on base.

BSHS stranded two runners in the second inning and one in the third but trailed just 3-0 entering the fourth inning.

Breanna Tendick doubled and later scored in the top of the fourth for BSHS, but the Braves stranded two more runners that inning. Piper scored once in the bottom of the inning. The Pirates then plated two runs in the fifth and began to pull away.

Shelbie Thornton tried to spark a rally in the sixth inning as she outhustled a throw to first and dashed to second on an error. Thornton then moved to third on a single by Tendick and later scored on a wild pitch. Bre Hammer lined into a double-play, however, and Piper thwarted Bonner Springs’ comeback bid.

The Pirates tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth for an 8-2 lead. Cassady Holloway tried to spark one last rally when she doubled off the fence with one out in the top of the seventh, but the next two batters were retired to end the game.

Wardlow praised her team for its resilience this season, one big example of it being the performance of Holloway. The Braves’ starting third baseman for most of the season, Holloway stepped into the pitching circle on short notice after a late-season injury to one of the Braves’ regular starters. Although it was out of Holloway’s comfort zone, it was a sacrifice that Wardlow said benefited the team.

“She’s an amazing athlete,” Wardlow said of Holloway. “She’s a player that you can put anywhere, and she gives 110 percent. For her to step up … I asked her to pitch, and she said she would give her best effort. She got on the mound and did a fabulous job. I couldn’t have asked for anything more out of her.”

BSHS (6-14) will return almost its entire lineup next year. Senior Emily Pyles graduates, but the remainder of the starting lineup will be back.

Five juniors and long-time varsity players — Tendick, Meagan Stice, Thornton, Ashley Muldoon and Kylee Timberlake — will be back. So will sophomores Sammy Weller, Holloway and Hammer and freshmen Kennedy Bizzell, Mikayla Ussery, Cheyenne Hale and Shyla Mason.

With so much talent returning, Wardlow said her program expects to take a big step forward in 2012.

“When we win, they’re never satisfied. When we lose, they’re never satisfied,” Wardlow said. “We’re always working on something, so without a doubt next year I think there will be an emphasis on that and just finishing and coming to our full potential.”

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