Leavenworth softball opens Class 5A regional play at Spring Hill

Jason Brown
The Leavenworth Times
Shown is Leavenworth junior Landri Lopez diving for a ball.

The Leavenworth softball team earned the No. 9 seed in the Kansas State High School Activities Association’s 5A East bracket and will travel to Spring Hill to take on the No. 8 seed Sumner Academy Sabres Tuesday.

Rounding out Regional #1 will be host and top seed Spring Hill (19-1) as well as No. 16 seed Turner High School.

This will be the second meeting between Leavenworth and Sumner of the 2021 prep season. The two teams squared off to open the year on April 1st, with the Pioneers (10-10) coming away with a 12-2 victory over the Sabres (9-7).

“We’re in a tough regional in drawing the No. 1 team in Spring Hill,” head coach Kacy Tillery said. “Our first-round match-up is Sumner/Wyandotte. We saw Sumner at the beginning of the season, and they have improved and progressed through the season. They are a good team, and they are a tough draw for the first round of regionals.”

The strong pitching of Landri Lopez buoys Leavenworth’s prospects for regional success. After prepping the last two seasons in Tampa, Florida, the junior transfer put together an impressive 2021 season in the circle. Lopez (8-5) finished the campaign with a 1.07 ERA in 91 1/3 innings while notching a school-record 129 strikeouts.

The Pioneers batted .354 as a team on the season, with junior shortstop Kaylee McLain (.522, with two home runs, four triples, 15 doubles, 29 runs scored, and 27 RBIs) serving as the main catalyst on offense. 

Joining her were Lopez (.431, with two home runs, 11 doubles, 16 runs scored, 17 RBIs), junior first baseman Jewel Lake (.368, with four triples, nine doubles,  nine runs scored, 14 RBIs), and senior third baseman Mikayla Garrison (.347, with 18 runs scored and RBIs). 

As the year progressed, freshmen catcher Jada Eagle (.371, with five doubles, 12 runs scored, 13 RBIs), center fielder Paradise Wright (.340, with two doubles, 10 runs scored, eight RBIs), and second baseman Hailey Garcia (.304, one home run, one triple, two doubles, 11 runs scored, two RBIs joined sophomore left fielder Paci Tate (.300, two triples, 14 runs scored, five RBIs), finding their groove, and providing a glimpse of Leavenworth’s future. 

“I am excited about the future of our team,” Tillery said. “We are young and are only losing one senior, so I am looking forward to what the future holds with our team coming back for the 2021-2022 season and the new incoming talent. In that vein, we will be hosting a camp this summer, and I am looking forward to seeing the youth softball players of Leavenworth come out and enjoy our new complex while having fun with the game of softball.”

The Pioneers and Sabres will open play in the regional, with the first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. Spring Hill and Turner will follow at 3:30 p.m., with the winners squaring off at 5 p.m. for the regional championship.