Girls battle against DeSoto
A storm was building in the northeastern Kansas sky Thursday during the first half of the varsity softball team's double-header with state 4-A powerhouse, the DeSoto Wildcats.
Dark clouds were rolling in thick and sinister during the first half of the game, and DeSoto, 17-1, was up 2-0 in the bottom of the third inning when Tonganoxie made its move.
Coming alive with a flurry of hits, the Chieftains, 7-11, capped the inning with an RBI single from Heather Beach that tied the game at two runs apiece.
As if a reflection of Tonganoxie's spirit, the clouds seemed to dissipate as quickly as the Wildcat's lead.
And the skies stayed sunny most of the game for Tonganoxie, which held DeSoto scoreless for three innings, and took the lead, 3-2, with a run in the sixth.
But DeSoto is 17-1 for a reason, and the team quickly scored two more in the seventh and final inning, going up 4-3.
Tonganoxie had one more opportunity. In the bottom of the seventh, the Chieftains took advantage of that chance when Chieftain slugger Deaven Workman took the plate and drilled a hit to deep right field for an in-the-park homer that sent the game into extra innings.
The sky began to cloud up again as DeSoto answered Workman's homer with one of its own in the top of the extra eighth inning to go up 5-4. DeSoto's pitcher then rained on the Chieftains parade, icing the first three batters and sealing the game.
"I thought we had them there in the seventh," Coach Mark Mall said. "The girls battled hard, but it just slipped away from us."
Having found their pace, the Wildcats easily took the second game, 9-2.
Although the Chieftains didn't win this time, Mall said he was pleased with how his team played.
"That's the number two team in the Kansas City Metro area," Mall said. "We played really well; about the best we could have played."
DeSoto finished the season 19-1. The Chieftains finished 7-13.
Mall said that the reason his team played so close the first game was because the girls were fired up and ready to give it their all.
"The girls really rose to the challenge," he said. "In that first game, we made the plays we had to, had some timely hits and played really good defense."
Looking forward to the regional tournament next Monday, Mall said he was going to continue working on defense with his team.
Three players Mall said had good games were shortstop Jeannie Bundy, pitcher Sammy Schiltz and catcher Deaven Workman.
Schiltz held the Wildcats to 15 hits on 37 at-bats.
The junior varsity team also dropped both of its games to DeSoto Thursday, finishing the season 9-10.
Tonganoxie first baseman Rae Everett injured her finger during the first game of Thursday's double-header. She left the game. Everett's finger injury turned out to be only a mild sprain, and she will play in next week's regional tournament.
Chieftain catcher Deaven Workman claimed Tonganoxie's single-season hit record Thursday. Her four hits gave her 33 for the year.