The Lansing softball team became one of the first teams to punch their ticket to next week’s state tournament Monday at Spring Hill with wins over Sumner Academy and Spring Hill 15-0 and 6-1. Lansing and Blue Valley Southwest are the first two teams in 5A to clinch a spot in the state tournament in Maize.
The No. 6 Lions rolled over No. 11 Sumner Academy 15-0 in the first game.
Before the game, head coach Rachel Milnark said the coaches reminded the girls that this is postseason play and the team cannot overlook anyone.
“The girls came ready to play,” Milnark said.
Lansing pitcher Caroline Crawford threw a no-hitter in the game and struck out 11 in her four innings pitched. She threw 40 strikes in her 61 pitches.
Shannon Jessup got on the board first for the Lions after a hit by Bradi Basler and Lansing took a 1-0 lead after the first inning. The Lions’ offense got hot in the second inning with seven runs. The Lions then added four more runs in the third and another three in the fourth to take the game 15-0.
Basler and Jessup led the team with three hits each. Cayleigh Berry had two. Lindsay Schuler, Riley Phillips, Chaise Miller and Brooke Gilfert each had a hit.
The Lions then faced No. 3 Spring Hill in the regional championship. The Broncos defeated St. James Academy 11-1 to advance and face the Lions.
”Going into game two, we talked about having a tough mental mindset and to play with heart,” Milnark said.
The Lions would fall behind early but scored six unanswered runs in the final three innings to secure the upset.
The Broncos scored on a ground out in the second inning to take a 1-0 lead.
“Between innings the girls were reminded to make adjustments at the plate,” Milnark said. “And find some grit.”
The score remained 1-0 until Milnark said the bats “caught fire.” A single in the top of the fifth by Jessup brought in Miller. An error by Spring Hill’s pitcher advanced Gilfert to score and Phillips scored on a Basler single to give the Lions a 3-1 lead. A home run by Katie Gray leading off the top of the sixth extended the lead to 4-1. Schuler would score via an error and gave the Lions their fifth run of the game. Jessup would score in the seventh and the Lions completed the upset to advance to state. Gray led the team with three hits in the game. Jesus, Schuler, Miller and Gilfert each had two. Phillips and Basler had a hit.
Basler also snagged the win as the pitcher. The senior allowed four hits, one run with eight strikeouts in a complete game.
The wins clinched one of the first spots in next week’s 5A state tournament. It is Lansing’s first appearance in the state tournament since 2009 when Milnark was a player for Lansing. Along with Lansing, No. 2 Blue Valley Southwest defeated No. 15 Turner (16-1) and No. 7 Arkansas City (5-0) to snag another spot. The remaining six will be determined in Tuesday-Thursday’s games. Game times and matchups for the tournament will be announced later this week. The 5A tournament will be played May 23-24 at Maize High School.