David Reeder

Special to the Grove Sun

SALINA-Between Thursday’s heavy rains and Friday night’s deluge, the Colcord Lady Hornets softball team showed a lot of character after losing the first game of the best-of-three district format at Lady Wildcat Field. And when the day’s events were concluded, the Lady Hornets had beaten their hosts soundly in the next game and held off a dramatic Salina comeback in the rubber match to take home the district hardware.

In the opening tilt, the Lady Wildcats were designated as the home team, batting first. Both teams went scoreless in the opening frame, but the home team got a leadoff homerun shot from their catcher, Mary Parsons, to draw first blood in the second. Colcord left the bases full in the bottom of the inning.

And in the top of the third, Salina’s Bridget Amos jacked a three-run shot over the fence to put the Lady Wildcats up 4-0. Colcord, however, came right back in the home half when the Lady ’Cats booted their first pair of attempts in the outfield. A throwing error plated Dava Weaver for the Lady Hornets’ first run, that in addition to RBI hits by Zoe Scott and Kaitlyn Duncan, drew Colcord within one.

After holding their opponents scoreless in the fourth, Tristan Sanders led off with a single, then moved to second on a walk to Daisy Rich. Emalee ’Roo’ Copeland, slapped an RBI double to score Sanders, that was followed by a Weaver hit, scoring two more. An intentional walk to Courtney Nichols came back to bite Salina when another error and a Copeland single added to the Lady Hornet lead in the bottom of the fifth.

The two teams traded runs in the sixth, to set up the final inning with Colcord on top 8-5. In the top of the seventh, the Lady Wildcats got a leadoff single by Nessa Flickinger. A one-out single by Bethany Burns put two on base, wherein Deanna Bales popped out to third for the second out. But Larae Prichett followed with a double that scored Flickinger. And with the tying runs on base, Amos did it again with her second three-run homer of the game, to take a 9-8 lead. The stunned Lady Hornets were unable to recover in the bottom of seventh to get nipped by a run.

To Colcord’s credit, they shook off the previous game’s result and came out swinging in the next. Copeland led off the game with a single and Nichols was intentionally walked. Theresa Ketkeo gave the Hornets a 1-0 edge when her double scored Copeland. Scott followed with a double of her own that pushed Nichols and Ketkeo across the plate. A single off of the bat of Sanders scored Scott for the early 4-0 edge.

Salina got on the board with a two-out solo shot out of the park off the bat of Larae Prichett in the bottom of the first. After a scoreless second, Colcord’s Dekayla Boling put her team back ahead by four when she launched one out of the park in the third. The Lady Hornets made it 6-1 with another Boling RBI in the fourth.

Salina cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fourth as the result of a pair of Colcord errors and a single. Undaunted, the Hornets shut down their hosts for the remainder of the game. And in the top half of the sixth, Ketkeo delivered the coup de grace when she blasted her own three-run dinger, scoring Nichols and Ketkeo in front of her.

In the district’s championship game, Colcord was again designated as the home team and held the Wildcats scoreless for the first and second innings. In their first at bat, the Hornets batted around, pounding out a half dozen hits and taking advantage of three more Salina errors to score five times. Boling, Scott and Erin Long all contributed RBI hits before the rally was put to rest.

Salina wasted a pair of hits and a Hornet error, to leave the bases loaded in the second. And in the bottom of the stanza, Colcord appeared to put things away when they picked up seven consecutive base runners with two away. Along with an RBI, Weaver scored her second run of the game. The big hit of the inning was Long’s bases loaded two-RBI single, that in addition to Duncan’s run scoring hit, gave the Lady Hornets a 9-0 lead.

In the top of the third, the Wildcats picked up five hits and scored four times to keep things within reason. Following the scoreless fourth, Salina got back to back solo homers off of the bats of Amos (her third of the day) and Erin Jordan (her second).

After the Hornet offfense went scoreless to close out the fifth, their defense committed three errors to start the sixth. The trio of miscues and a walk were enough to allow the ‘Cats to knot things up at nine each. But Colcord was able to scrape together a go-ahead run, when Sanders scored on a Duncan hit in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs, another error put the potential tying run on base. But the Colcord catcher, Kaitlyn Duncan, made a game winning catch of a pop up foul, that saw her barely avoid a serious collision with the chain link backstop, punching the Hornets’ ticket to next week’s regional, 10-9.