Tuesday, 18 September 2018
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Holton Softball Finishes Fourth in 4AD2
By Justin Fluke
Copyright: MSC Sports

Making their fourth state tournament appearance in school history and first since 2010, the Holton Wildcat softball team scored their first runs and won their first state tournament game in program history, but lost a couple tough one-run-games on Friday to finish the season 19-6 and claim fourth place medals in Salina.  

1st Round - Holton 9, Kingman/Norwich 6

It was a great start in the quarterfinals on Thursday evening as #5 seed Holton scored three runs in the first inning and added two more in the second for a 7-1 lead that carried all the way until the fourth frame when Kingman/Norwich scored another unearned run.  The Eagles, making their first state softball appearance, scored three more run in the fifth to pull within 7-5 and had another run in with the bases loaded and just one out after an intentional walk in the bottom of the sixth inning before senior, Sarah Bond got a popup back to her from the Eagles cleanup hitter and then struck out her pitching counterpart Carlie Kelly to preserve the lead at 7-6. 

Bond pitched the entire game and fanned the final two batters in the seventh to finish with 10 strikeouts while surrendering just six hits and only three of the six Eagle runs were earned because of five Holton errors.  Kingman/Norwich (17-4) had five errors themselves, but the Wildcats pounded out nine runs on nine hits including a trio of doubles from Jewel Lutz who drove in four runs, including a two-run double in the top of the seventh to give the Cats some breathing room at 9-6. 

Bailey Flewelling hit a solo homerun with two outs to give Holton the 7-1 lead in the second and pulled even with Lutz with her seventh dinger of the season.  Kinleigh Rhodd scored two runs and had a hit and RBI while Lauryn Moore tripled and scored to lead off the second and Annalyss Phillips had a hit, run and RBI.

Semifinal = Galena 1, Holton 0

After a quick turnaround from Thursday night to 11 AM on Friday morning, Holton battled the #8 seed Galena, who had knocked off undefeated Clay Center 6-0 in the opening round.  Sarah Bond re-established herself on the mound by retiring the first seven batters she faced and the game was scoreless going into the fourth inning.  Thats when freshman phenom and Auburn commit, Riley McNemar hit a ball that sliced away from Holton right fielder Adalee Degenhardt and went just over her head in what was officially ruled a tough error.  Two batters later, Lyndsey Dixon delivered an RBI double and Galena led 1-0.  It was one of only four hits for the Bulldogs who only had three other runners the entire game (because of errors), but made the lead stick as Madyson Cox danced around trouble to pitched a four-hit shutout.  

The Wildcats had multiple opportunities but got just underneath several deep balls hit to the outfield and couldn't get the timely hit they needed with runners on base while also suffering some tough luck in the running game.  Holton threatened in the first inning after a leadoff double by Phillips, but the courtesy runner was tagged out coming to third on the next play and a line-out double play ended the inning.  Holton put runners at second and third after a walk and double in the second stanza, but a strikeout prevented that scoring chance. 

One of the biggest plays was a great bunt by Flewelling with one out in the fourth inning and a throwing error would have put her at third base with one out.  However, the umpire ruled that Flewelling threw the bat at the ball and made contact with it in front of the batters box, therefore she was ruled out.  Bond followed with a walk, but her courtesy runner was thrown out at home on a double hit by Lutz to end the threat.  Holton put two more runners on in the fifth with one-out but a pair of popups left runners stranded and Cox used a variety of control pitches to retire the final eight batters of the game to give Galena the 1-0 win.  Moore nearly tied the score by blasting a ball to the deep left-center in the bottom of the seventh, but Dixon made an amazing running basket catch against the fence.  

Bond didn't allow a single free pass pitching all seven innings again and adding five strikeouts to push her past 100 for the season.  The Wildcats had 11 pop fly outs in the game, which was their only time shutout this season, for a team that averaged 10 runs per game and sported a team batting average of .415 during the regular season. 

3rd Place Game = Girard 2, Holton 1

The defending state champion Girard Trojans (24-1) lost a tough semifinal 6-5 to eventual state champ Baldwin, which was their first loss of the season, and put them in the third place game against Holton.  The Wildcats scoring chances were more limited in this matchup against Pitt State signee, Shelby Smith.  Holton managed only five singles in the game, including a pair by Moore, and didn't committ any fielding errors in the final contest.  However, Girard had eight hits, including three in the bottom of the sixth inning to plate the winning run.  

Girard scored in the third after a leadoff double by Jaylynn Jenkins as Smith delivered a two-out, RBI single.  Holton tied it in the top of the sixth after Phillips drew a leadoff walk and scored three batters later on a throwing error by the Trojans.  It proved to be the only time Holton got a runner to third base and had a major scoring opportunity.  Bond again pitched a great game for Holton and added a hit, along with Degenhardt and Phillips as Holton finished their most successful season in the programs 23-year history and Coach John Deitrich surpassed the 400-win mark in his softball coaching career during the 19-6 campaign.    


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Hiawatha, KS 66434
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