Lone run dooms McLouth softball team
In softball, one run, on occasion, is all it takes to secure a win.
During the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state tournament Friday in Manhattan, that was the case. In three of four quarterfinal games, the score was 1-0.
Unfortunately for McLouth, the Bulldogs played in one of those games and didn't score.
MHS, the No. 6 seed, fell to No. 3 Herington/White City, 1-0.
"It was a really close game," MHS coach Ballard Patterson said.
In the other two one-run games, top-seeded Salina-Sacred Heart beat No. 8 Wellsville in nine innings and Humboldt defeated Anthony-Harper-Chaparral. Sacred Heart went on to win its second straight state title by beating Herington/White City, 3-2, in the finals.
The Knights tied a state record for consecutive wins with 44.
McLouth pitcher Catherine Gunther, who battled illness throughout the week, held her own against Herington.
The Railroaders did score thanks to pitcher Whitney Boeh's triple. After Gunther walked the previous batter, Boeh connected with the big hit as the Railroaders took the lead.
Gunther played despite her illness, which caused her to throw up between innings, Patterson said.
"She pitched a gutty, gutty performance," Patterson said. "She gave it everything she had.
"She was incredible. She was as pale as could be and was firing away on the mound."
The Bulldogs had two chances at scoring, but couldn't come through. With a runner on third, Boeh pitched the ball, but the ball bounced off the catcher's glove and went behind her.
The home-plate umpire, however, called a dead ball, which prevented the runner to score from third on the passed ball.
Kendall Patterson, late in the game, hit a long fly ball, but the Herington outfielder snagged the ball at the fence and prevented the homer.
McLouth finished its season at 15-5, but this year's McLouth squad became the first Bulldog softball team to advance to the state tournament.
They did so by defeating defending state champion Silver Lake in the regional finals.
The Bulldogs graduate two players from this year's squad -- Gunther and fellow senior Heaven Mills.