Lady 'Hounds charge into I-70 championship game
CONCORDIA -- The Sweet Springs softball team lived up to its No. 1 seed with a pair of shutout victories to reach the championship game of the I-70 Conference Tournament at Concordia for the fifth time in six years.
Sophomore Kylee Winfrey tossed a one-hitter and struck out 10 batters Monday during an 11-0, five-inning first-round victory over Orrick, which began its softball program this spring.
Winfrey walked and scored on sophomore Sydney Vaught's single in the bottom of the first inning. The Lady Greyhounds added three more runs during the frame on a triple by sophomore Lauren Eagle, freshman Addison Snyder's double and an error.
Sweet Springs banged out five more hits for five runs in the second. Winfrey walked and Vaught tripled her home before scoring on a grounder. Senior Addy Eckhoff doubled in a run, senior Mariah Harper singled her home and junior Hannah Viets' RBI double capped the scoring.
The final two Lady 'Hound tallies came on Snider's two-run double in the third.
Sweet Springs followed that up Tuesday with a 12-0 semifinal victory over fifth-seeded Lone Jack (5-7), Winfrey throwing another one-hitter, striking out 11.
Vaught singled in a run and scored on a sacrifice fly in the first inning, but it was in the second that the Lady 'Hounds broke away with seven runs -- the first three on an error and a pair of bases-loaded walks. Sophomore Brooke Conner singled in two runs and Eckhoff provided an RBI single.
Doubles by senior Tori Hinton and Vaught gave Sweet Springs their first run in the third, the final two crossing on Conner's homer.
The Lady 'Hounds (14-2) will be going for their fourth title Wednesday against Wellington-Napoleon -- a 6-3 winner over Crest Ridge in the semifinals. A win would give Sweet Springs the second-most crowns in the tourney's history, Santa Fe leading the pack with five championships.
The best the Lady Chiefs can hope for this year is a consolation trophy, having lost their first-round contest to Lone Jack, 16-11.
The Lady Mules took a 2-1 lead into the top of the second inning, and left their turn at the plate with a nine-run cushion. Sophomore Madison Eitzen-Carroll stroked a two-run double, but the next five runs scored on defensive miscues before senior Briana Balandron's RBI single plated the final run.
Lone Jack added two unearned runs in the third and three runs on two hits, including junior Abbey McManus' two-run double, in the fifth.
Santa Fe couldn't keep up or catch up, despite four hits from junior Sadie Limback. Freshman Carrigan Smith had a two-run double in the fourth and sophomore Kaylee Breshears and Smith had RBI singles in the fifth, but the gap was too great to overcome.
The Lady Chiefs (10-7) came back Tuesday to drub Orrick (2-15), 13-1, in the consolation semifinal -- putting them into the fifth-place game against Crest Ridge.
The Santa Fe baseball team, which has won the meet six times, will have to settle for the consolation finals following a 6-3 loss to Crest Ridge in the first round and a second-round bye.
The Chiefs took the early lead on senior Holden Bargfrede's third-inning double, but a leadoff walk in the fourth led to the tying run scoring for the Cougars -- who pulled ahead with three in the fifth three errors, two free passes and a single by junior Tyler Livengood.
Crest Ridge (5-7-1) tacked on two more runs in the sixth, both scoring on errors. Santa Fe, down 6-1, had a chance in the sixth when singles by Bargfrede, senior Dobber Burton and junior Blake Schreiman loaded the bases. However, the Chiefs only got one run out of that threat, on a hit batter.
Santa Fe (6-7) is scheduled to play Sweet Springs for the consolation trophy Wednesday. The Greyhounds (4-12) lost their first-round clash with St. Paul, 6-5, but came back to nip Wellington-Napoleon in eight innings, 9-8, in the consolation semi.
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