Bobcat softball headed to state after capturing regional title

Jason Brown
The Leavenworth Times
Shown is the Basehor-Linwood softball team after capturing the 5A regional championship and qualifying for state Wednesday.

With two wins Wednesday, Basehor-Linwood softball is headed to the state tournament as a 5A regional champion, defeating St. James 14-4 and Bonner Springs 5-2 at home.  

The Bobcats (19-3) were anchored by solid pitching as sophomore Taylor Cruse threw 11 innings between both games and struck out 11 batters while allowing a combined nine hits. 

Despite dropping 14 runs on the Thunder in the regional semifinals, the Bobcats only needed seven hits as St. James had eight defensive errors.

It didn’t take long for the scoring to start as the Bobcats plated five runs in the first inning and three more in the second. The Thunder’s offense was solid early as well with four runs of their own to trail 9-4 after three innings. 

The game didn’t last much longer as the Bobcats reeled off another five-run inning behind senior Mila Seaton’s first career home run. 

Audrey Spellman and Seaton were the only two Bobcats to notch multi-hit games with two each. Kaliegh Small drew two walks and scored three runs. 

The regional championship game between the Bobcats and Braves proved to be a pitching duel early as neither team could plate a run after four innings. 

Cruse breezed through the first two innings, facing the minimum batters, before the Braves managed to get a hit off of her in the third inning. Solid defense helped Cruse get out of a jam in the third and she worked around a double in the fourth before the Bobcats' offense got going in the fifth inning. 

Grace Rose opened the inning with a double and was replaced by Taylor Pratt on second base. Pratt scored the first run of the game off an error caused by Jen Lutgen’s sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, Sam Price singled to score Lutgen for the second run. Another single from Britney Hoffman brought two more runs in, followed by a single from Small to score the fifth run. 

The Braves added a run in the sixth and seventh frames but couldn’t build enough momentum to get back in the game.

In addition to pitching all seven innings, Cruse drew three of the team’s four walks.

The 5A state tournament is scheduled to begin May 27 through May 28 at Wilkins Stadium on the campus of Wichita State University. Seeding and game times are still to be determined.