McLouth softball headed to state
Bulldogs win regional championship at Silver Lake in dramatic fashion
The McLouth High softball team officially has its Memorial Day weekend planned.
The Bulldogs can pack their bags for the state tournament next week after beating Silver Lake, 3-2, in a regional championship game Tuesday night at SLHS.
MHS, which reached the title game by beating Atchison County, 11-8, in a Tuesday semifinal, needed late-inning heroics to beat Silver Lake (20-3) on its home field. With two outs in the top of the seventh, freshman Konner Patterson belted a solo home run to straight-away center to give the Bulldogs (20-3) a 3-2 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, it was sophomore Alex Adams who came up with the big defensive play when Silver Lake had a runner in scoring position with two outs. The second baseman dove to stop a dribbler of a ground ball, crawled to gather herself and flipped the ball over to first just in time to get the game-ending out.
"It was high drama," MHS coach Ballard Patterson said.
After Adams' flip to Konner won the game, the coach said, McLouth's players and fans erupted, celebrating the program's first trip to the Class 3A state tournament since 2008.
"That whole place went berserk," Ballard related. "It was pretty nutty for about five minutes."
Holding the regional's No. 1 seed, SLHS, to two runs was no easy feat, the coach said. He credited senior pitcher Kaley Patterson for throwing "the craftiest" stuff he had seen from her. Other than a two-run homer in the fourth, Silver Lake couldn't produce against the McLouth senior.
"Kaley was so precise and so perfect," Ballard said. "She made one mistake and it cost her. The rest of the time she threw purpose pitches and hit her stuff on the corners."
MHS took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first, when Kaley doubled and fellow senior Jessie Troupe smacked a two-run home run.
The hot start, Ballard said, was a nice response to a mistake-ridden ending to the semifinal victory, when McLouth allowed ACHS to score five runs in the top of the seventh.
"We booted everything that was hit," the coach said.
The Bulldogs were caught looking ahead to Silver Lake, he admitted.
Now the team can turn its focus to the state tournament, which will begin Friday, May 27 at Manhattan.