TOPEKA – Let’s just say things ended on a high note.
Lansing softball had an up-and-down season, but when it mattered most they came to play and then some.
With a chance to qualify for the Class 5A state tournament at the expense of the defending champions and host Topeka Seaman, the Lions did everything but get the winning run to plate late in a dramatic 7-6 defeat.
“I think this was one of the best, if not the best, games we’ve played all season so I am really proud of my team,” Lansing senior Briele Rees said. “Since the beginning of the season we realized we can't judge a team by their record and so we didn't expect to lose. We came out to win. We weren't scared of them. We just came out playing our hardest no matter how good or bad the other team is.
“Of course I wanted to go to state, but I couldn't think of a better way to go out besides that.”
Lansing (10-12) trailed 5-1 after the first two innings, before finally chipping away.
Riley Phillips drove in a lone run in the fifth and then Hannah Fay drove in Bradi Basler and Courtney Marshall an inning later to pull Lansing within 5-4.
Seaman responded with two runs in the bottom of the sixth, but Lansing wouldn't relent.
Rees' 2-run double brought home Phillips and Basler to pull the Lions back within one run.
However, Basler would be stranded at second representing the tying run.
Lansing earned its place in the final by virtue of a 22-1 demolition of No. 6 Kansas City Sumner Academy in the semifinal round earlier in the afternoon.
The Lions took off early offensively as the bats pounded the Sumner starter and bounced back from a sluggish first frame for their own ace in the circle, Kaley Masisak.
Lansing scored four times before being called out and the Lions gave Masisak plenty to work with moving forward, taking an 11-1 lead into the second frame.
A Phillips triple brought home two more runs in the second inning to help push the Lions' lead to 13-1.
Two batters later a Basler double made it 16-1 and the mercy rule went into effect.
Masisak would ease into the game-ending frame with a comfortable 22-1 lead that would hold three outs later.
“Having a game like that did get us ready and mentally prepared to play the defending champs,” senior Lion Paige Herrera said. “This gave us a quick little warm-up game for them and got us set and ready.”
Did it ever.
Leavenworth falls to Topeka West
A season of improvement ended with a 14-4 regional semifinal defeat against No. 4 seed Topeka West.
Leavenworth (8-13) finished one of its best seasons in recent years with McKenzie Brown going 3-for-4, Leah Seichepine getting two hits and Ashton Roth recording a timely triple.
In the first inning the girls turned a triple play between Jessica Sachen to Roth to Alyssa Seichepine.
“We got in a rut tonight with errors and could recover,” LVHS head coach Callie Farrell said. “The ending of this game doesn't do the girls justice as to how hard and well they have played all year. I'm extremely proud of them with this season, we will miss the three seniors dearly but we look very promising for next year.”
Basehor-Linwood so close, not enough
The Basehor-Linwood softball team let it slip away.
In the Bobcats' regional semifinal at No. 2 seed Tonganoxie, the No. 3 Basehor girls (13-8) saw a 6-0 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning dramatically turn into a 7-6, season ending defeat.
BLHS starter Ashley Hoffman pitched a perfect game heading into that final frame.
“We played our absolute best that we've played for six innings only to play probably our worst all year in the seventh,” Bobcat head coach Susan Mayberry said. “We cost ourselves the game and the team knows that. That's when it hurts the most. When we were in control of the outcome and let it slip away.
“This season we had four remarkable seniors who took on the responsibility of leading a team, by making each player accountable ... we fell short and I feel we let our seniors down. We'll rebound and get back to work in a couple of weeks.”