Chieftain softball eyeing top seed
A Kaw Valley League championship is still up in the air for the Tonganoxie High softball team.
But THS co-coach Debbie Himpel isn't too worried about that.
The more important "No. 1" nametag likely will be affixed to the Chieftains when Class 4A regionals begin Monday.
After Monday's sweep of Pleasant Ridge, THS finished the regular season at 17-3. Tonganoxie likely will play Bishop Ward in the first round Monday in Shawnee.
"I think they think it's in reach now," Himpel said of a state berth. "You always say that you want it, but getting there is another thing."
Himpel said fellow co-coach Craig Lohman told their players Monday that next week's first-round game is "one step of six steps." To win a state title, the Chieftains must win three regional games and three state games.
"They see the light at the end of tunnel," Himpel said.
Oh, and there is that Kaw Valley League race as well.
Tonganoxie is 7-1 in KVL play, while Lansing is 6-1 with one game to play -- at 3:30 p.m. today against Basehor-Linwood at Basehor's Field of Dreams. A Lansing win would forge a tie for the KVL crown, with LHS (12-4 overall) winning the head-to-head advantage.
On Monday, in the Chieftains' final home doubleheader of the year, THS didn't disappoint. The Chieftains defeated Pleasant Ridge, 10-0 and 14-4. Both games ended in five innings, although the first game was just a 2-0 contest heading into the fifth.
THS, however, scored eight runs in the bottom of the fifth and won the game via the mercy rule.
In the first game, Roni Grizzle went 3-for-3 with two singles and a double, while Roxie Grizzle finished 2-for-3 with a home run.
Tracie Hileman also sparked the Chieftains in game one. She went 2-for-3 with two triples, while Lauren Himpel finished 2-for-4 with a triple.
In the second game, Roni Grizzle had a 2-for-3 outing and hit 5-for-6 for the series.
Although the Rams scored four runs in the second game, they had just three hits.
Himpel said she would have preferred her team come out of the gates better in the first game, but she was pleased with the overall effort.
"It's a good confidence booster going into regionals," Himpel said.
Last week, THS also swept Bishop Ward, 5-1 and 10-1. In the first game, Lindsey Himpel went 2-for -4, as did sister Lauren Himpel. Sarah Flaherty had a 2-for-3 outing with two doubles and an RBI, while Amie Riddle went 3-for-4 with a double and 2 RBI.
Riddle also picked up the victory as the pitcher. She had 10 strikeouts and no walks as she faced 28 batters.
In the second game, Lauren Himpel connected on 3-for-4 hitting, including a triple and an RBI. Flaherty finished 3-for-5 with a triple and 3 RBI. Riddle went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI and Jessie Whitledge finished 3-for-4 with a double, triple and 3 RBI.
Himpel said the doubleheader was a good experience for the team as three of the Chieftains' top players -- the Grizzle sisters and Hileman -- missed the doubleheader to participate in a THS track meet at Piper.
Regional pairings should be announced today. For complete pairings of the 4A regional, log on to The Mirror's Web site, www.tonganoxiemirror.com.
at Basehor, W, 6-2
at Jeff West, W, 11-2
Atchison (at Jeff West), W, 21-2
at Mill Valley, W, 7-3
at Mill Valley, L, 7-1
PIPER, W, 9-4
PIPER, L, 5-4
at Basehor, W, 2-1 (14 innings)
at Bonner, W, 6-0
at Bonner, W, 15-0
SANTA FE TRAIL, W, 5-3
SANTA FE TRAIL, W, 6-3
at Perry-Lecompton, W, 5-3
at Perry-Lecompton, W, 6-4
LANSING, L, 4-2
LANSING, W, 5-1
at Ward, W, 5-1
at Ward, W, 10-1
PLEASANT RIDGE, W, 10-0
PLEASANT RIDGE, W, 14-4