The Goddard Eisenhower softball team looked like every bit of a state championship contender in its opening game at the Class 5A tournament on Thursday.
Eisenhower received a two-hit, shutout gem in the circle from Audry Rumsey, a pair of home runs from stars Karli George and Karlee Ford and a handful of spectacular defensive plays in a 4-0 victory over Spring Hill at Wichita State’s Wilkins Stadium.
For the third straight year, the Tigers (18-5) advanced to the state semifinals, where they will face No. 8 seed Shawnee Heights at 11 a.m. Friday.
“If we play the way we just played the next two games, we will be state champions,” Ford said. “If we hit like we did and play defense like we did, we’re unstoppable.”
Eisenhower grabbed the momentum early, as senior Lauren McNaught led off the bottom of the first inning with a stand-up triple. A ground-out by Ford scored the runner, then Rumsey singled and George followed with a towering two-run home run that hit off the top of the scoreboard beyond the left-field fence.
That was more than enough run support for Rumsey, who was superb in a seven-inning shutout performance.
“Audry was pitching ahead a lot, which is what we talked a lot about,” Eisenhower coach Amber Brunswig said. “Using that high pitch along with the off-speed was very effective for her.”
Rumsey was also backed up by a standout defensive performance, including a handful of impressive snags by senior shortstop Mallory Pabst and freshman third baseman Elleigh Tarpley.
Brunswig said that has been a team strength all season, which she hopes will be the difference this year after losing in the semifinals and settling for third place the last two years at the state tournament.
“Defense has really been a strength for us all year,” Brunswig said. “We’re trying to build on that. We made some great plays and had (Rumsey’s) back. We had everything working for us today. Pitching, hitting and defense.”
And to finish it off, Ford added a solo home run in the fifth inning thanks to a tip from a teammate.
“Lauren (McNaught) had just got out on a hit and she told me she was early and it was outside,” Ford said. “So when I walked up to the plate, I heard the catcher say, ‘Hey, same thing.’ So I was just sitting back, waiting on one outside and when you hit the ball off the barrel, it’s going to go pretty far.”
Eisenhower will face Shawnee Heights, which ended a 21-win season for top-seeded Bishop Carroll with a 4-2 victory to start Thursday’s tournament.
The Golden Eagles took a 2-0 lead in the third inning when freshman No. 9 hitter Natalie Thimmesch hit an inside-the-park home run to the left-center gap for an early spark. But Shawnee Heights rallied for three runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 3-2 lead and tacked on an insurance run in the seventh, as Carroll’s young nucleus couldn’t come up with the needed rally to extend the game.
On the other side of the bracket, Valley Center had little issue putting away Pittsburg in a five-inning, run-rule 11-1 victory to advance to the 1 p.m. semifinal to face Salina South, which upset Basehor-Linwood in a 2-1 win. Maci George had a two-RBI triple, while Victoria Turner picked up the win in the circle and also had two RBIs at the plate for the Hornets (21-2) in their quest to defend their 5A championship.
Derby wins extra-innings thriller to advance in 6A
Derby rallied for a thrilling, walk-off 3-2 victory over Manhattan in the opening-round win at the Class 6A state tournament in Lawrence.
The Panthers trailed 1-0 entering the bottom of the seventh inning and were down to their final out, but Kyler Demel delivered in the clutch with an RBI double to left field to force extra innings.
Manhattan took a 2-1 lead on a passed ball in the top of the eighth inning, but Derby once again produced an answer in resounding fashion.
Addy Canfield led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a double, then scored when Trinity Kuntz followed with an RBI single. Chloe Enslinger kept the hit train going with another single, then Raegan Jackson delivered the walk-off RBI hit to plate Kuntz.
Derby (22-1) will face Olathe West in Friday’s 1 p.m. semifinal. The Panthers were led by multi-hit games from Demel, Canfield, Kuntz and Enslinger, while Canfield threw an eight-inning, complete game, allowing no earned runs and scattering five hits and two walks with nine strikeouts.
Clearwater, McPherson both advance in 4A state bracket
In an AV-CTL Div. 4 rematch, Clearwater topped Mulvane 5-0 behind a complete-game shutout by Brecken Whitney in the first game at the Class 4A state tournament in Salina.
The game was scoreless until the fifth inning when Clearwater scored on an RBI double by Addison Brown. Elizabeth Tjaden added an insurance run on an RBI single in the sixth inning, then she delivered a two-RBI triple in the seventh inning followed by an RBI single by Carli Carlson.
In the game before, McPherson rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning to extend its game with Fort Scott, then won it in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the 12th inning for a 3-2 victory. The Bullpups (20-3) will face Clearwater in a noon semifinal on Friday.
Trailing 2-1 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, Olivia Cheatham led off the inning with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, then scored on an RBI single by Addison Chapman.
The two teams traded four scoreless frames in extra innings before McPherson walked it off after Chloe Clevenger led off with a double, then scored on the game-winning hit by Kelcy Bergstrom.
Haven marches on in 3A state bracket
Haven only needed five hits to bang out 17 runs in a four-inning, run-rule 17-2 victory over Scott City in the opening game of the 3A state tournament in Manhattan.
The Wildcats fully capitalized on the 15 walks handed out by Scott City, as Kelsi Kincaid delivered a team-high four RBIs with just one hit. Avery Brawner was the only Haven hitter to finish with two hits, while Morgan O’Neal, Trista Rogers and Sadie Estill all plated multiple runs at the plate.
Haven led 11-0 after two innings and cruised to a win to punch its ticket to Friday’s 11 a.m. semifinals against Santa Fe Trail (20-3).
Bluestem advances at 2-1A state
Pilar Cox struck out 12 in the circle and finished with two RBIs at the plate in a 10-0 victory over Medicine Lodge in five innings at the 2-1A state tournament in Pratt.
The Lions improved to 23-1 this season and advanced to Friday’s 11 a.m. semifinal against St. Marys (19-5).
Bluestem scored nine runs in the first two innings, as Cox, Jewell Carleton, Samiya Worrell and Samantha Winn all delivered multiple RBIs. Rylee Orpen also finished with two hits for Bluestem.
Meanwhile, Cox was dominant in the circle, throwing a complete-game shutout. She limited Medicine Lodge to a single hit in five innings, while she walked five and struck out 12.
On the other side of the bracket, No. 8 seed Hillsboro lost a 9-2 game to undefeated McLouth to conclude a 8-14 season. Kirsten Kluver delivered the only runs of the game with a two-run home run in the first inning.
Kansas high school state softball scores
Class 6A (in Lawrence)
Olathe Northwest 9, Lawrence Free State 1
Washburn Rural 5, Shawnee Mission North 2
Olathe West 7, Olathe North 6
Derby 3, Manhattan 2 (8 innings)
Class 5A (in Wichita)
Shawnee Heights 4, Bishop Carroll
Goddard Eisenhower 4, Spring Hill 0
Salina South 2, Basehor-Linwood 1
Valley Center 11, Pittsburg 1
Class 4A (in Salina)
Wamego 4, Rock Creek 0
McPherson 3, Fort Scott 2 (12 innings)
Eudora 12, Andale-Garden Plain 2
Clearwater 5, Mulvane 0
Class 3A (in Manhattan)
Haven 17, Scott City 2
Southeast of Saline 1, Burlington 0
Santa Fe Trail 5, Beloit 0
Rossville 19, Columbus 7
Class 2-1A (in Pratt)
McLouth 9, Hillsboro 2
Bluestem 10, Medicine Lodge 0
Ell-Saline 3, Jayhawk Linn 2
St. Marys 12, Central Heights 0