Chiefs return to finals
CONCORDIA - Santa Fe senior Ryan Cox may have had one of his most satisfying games on the baseball diamond Wednesday.
Cox tossed a complete-game victory and provided a walk-off hit in the eighth inning during the second-seeded Chiefs' 2-1 decision over No. 3 Lone Jack in the semifinal round of the I-70 Conference Tournament at Concordia. The win gave 10th-ranked Santa Fe a shot at its fourth straight title.
Cox had excellent location throughout the game, throwing strikes with 70 of 99 pitches and walking only one batter while fanning 11. Three of the six hits he allowed came in the top of the fifth inning, when singles by freshman Bret Kibler, senior Dalton Smith and sophomore Tyler Berry produced the Mules' lone run.
Meanwhile, Berry was nearly as sharp for Lone Jack (8-8), whiffing 10 Chiefs and walking two. Sophomore Holden Bargfrede led off the bottom of the fifth with a single and scored on junior Ben Hinz's grounder.
After Cox struck out the final six batters he faced, he came to bat in the bottom of the eighth with a chance to win it. Hinz singled and stole second base, prompting an intentional walk to sophomore Alex Smith. Senior Wyatt Wilkinson singled, but Hinz was thrown out at the plate. However, Cox's single to center field scored Smith to end the game.
Santa Fe (7-10) will seek its sixth tourney championship Thursday against top-seeded St. Paul, a 13-9 winner over Crest Ridge.
Concordia 13, Sweet Springs 1
Concordia bounced Sweet Springs from the field with a 13-1, five-inning rout in the consolation semifinal.
The Greyhounds got their run in the top of the first inning on senior Andrew Krause's double. It was their only hit, senior Hayden Moore retiring 13 of the next 14 batters he faced, striking out nine.
The Orioles tied the game on an error in the bottom half of the frame, then surged ahead with four runs in the second - two on Moore's double - and eighth in the fourth. Two scored on junior Alex Mueller's single and final three on one of Sweet Springs' seven errors.
Concordia (7-12) will take on Wellington-Napoleon for the consolation trophy.
The 'Hounds (4-11) next play Thursday, May 7, at Glasgow.
Santa Fe 8, Wellington 4
The second-seeded Santa Fe softball team used a six-run second inning to take command of its semifinal contest against No. 3 Wellington-Napoleon, claiming an 8-4 win.
Senior Lexi Smith homered during the middle of the Lady Chiefs' rally, capped by junior Kylie Limback's RBI single.
Junior Morgan Weedman singled in a run in the fifth and doubles by freshman Caitlin Niendick and senior Mikayla Lohsandt produced another run in the sixth for the Lady Tigers (7-5), but Santa Fe answered in its half of the stanza with doubles by seniors Katey Peters and Kourtney Chiddix followed by junior Courtney Bishop's single.
The Lady Chiefs (11-4) will seek their first crown since 2007 Thursday against No. 1 seed Crest Ridge, a 7-1 winner over Lone Jack.
Sweet Springs 10, Concordia 7
Three-time defending champion Sweet Springs kept itself in contention for a trophy with a 10-7 victory over Concordia in the consolation semifinal.
The Lady Greyhounds went into the seventh inning staring at a 6-2 deficit, but used three hits, three errors and three walks to tally eight runs. The big blows were senior Olivia Loges' game-tying two-run single, with senior Anna Eckhoff concluding the outburst with a two-run double.
Junior Cailey Cooper had two hits and scored twice for the Lady Orioles (4-13).
Eckhoff logged three hits for Sweet Springs (4-7), which meets St. Paul for fifth place Thursday.
Contact Chris Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org