Tiger softball takes third
SALINA -- Fort Scott High School's softball team finished as the third-place team in the Kansas Class 4A-Division I State Tournament here Friday after losing to top-seeded and eventual champion Augusta in the semifinals and beating Louisburg in the third-place game.
It's the third time that a Fort Scott softball team has placed at State. The Tigers won the Class 4A State title in 2005 and took third in 2006. It's the first State trophy for head coach Alvin Metcalf, who was an assistant on the previous placing teams. Fort Scott also qualified for Class 5A State in 1995 but lost in the first round.
Augusta (21-4) defeated Fort Scott 9-1 in one semifinal while second-seeded McPherson avoided an upset on what was considered a controversial call at the end of the other semifinal to beat Louisburg, 4-3. Augusta went on to roll by McPherson, 11-5, in the championship game. Fort Scott ended its season with a 17-8 record by holding off third-seeded Louisburg, 6-5, in the third-place game.
McPherson finished 18-7. Louisburg, which had swept Fort Scott in a regular-season doubleheader and beaten previously-undefeated Paola in the Regional final to get to State, ended the year 16-8.
Fort Scott's only run in the opener was scored when Hannah Geneva was hit by a Brooke Eberhart pitch with the bases loaded and 2 out in the top of the third inning, forcing Katie Gorman home. That tied the score 1-1.
The Orioles broke the tie in the bottom of the inning when Kylie Westbrook led off the inning with a home run over the fence in right-center. They extended it to 3-1 with an unearned run off Kyenne Wade (12-6) in the fourth. Then Augusta broke the game open with 4 in the fifth and 2 in the sixth.
Westbrook was 3 for 4 at the plate for Augusta, which won its third State title to go along with Class 4A championships in 2000 and 2006. Katy Nordman was 2 for 4 for the Orioles.
Eberhart, who pitched the first three innings, and Nicole Becker combined to hold the Tigers to 2 hits, one each by Wade and Abby Denton.
The Tigers were doing the hitting early on in the third-place game against Louisburg, leading 6-1 after three innings. Four hits aided in a 3-run first, which Gorman led off with a bunt single. Riley Brown bunted her over to second. Then Wade drove in Gorman with the first run and moved to second on the throw home. Geneva then hit a ball to right and stole second in front of Taylor Krokroskia's 2-out, 2-run scoring single to center.
Denton led off the second with a single and Gorman slapped her way on. Brown again sacrificed and Wade drove in both runners with a double to make it 5-1.
Delane Gray doubled to lead off the third and scored on Krokroskia's single.
The Tigers had just 3 hits the rest of the game and Louisburg's offense started to find its stroke against Geneva, scoring 3 in the fourth on 3 hits and an error to get within 6-4.
Ellie Walter led off the bottom of the seventh for Louisburg and singled to center. She traded places with Emalee Overbay on a fielder's choice. Then with one out, Ashley Boles drove in Overbay with a single to center but was thrown out trying to get to second on the play, ending the game.
Geneva was 3 for 4 at the plate for the Tigers and also struck out 5 batters in the pitching circle as she allowed 4 earned runs on 10 hits and one walk. Krokrosia and Gorman each went 2 for 3.
NOTES: With both the Tigers' baseball and softball teams winning on Thursday, Fort Scott became just the fourth Class 4A school since 2009 to have both teams reach their sports' final four and the 29th school overall in that time.