Turnaround finds Cardinals with five-game win streak
After starting the season 1-5, the Eudora softball squad finished the 2005 regular season with a five-game winning streak, 11-9 record and reason for optimism as it prepares for next week's 4A regional.
The Cardinals ended the year with a pair of wins in a three-squad tripleheader at De Soto.
Eudora claimed a 4-2 win over Paola in its first game and finished off the night with a 5-2 victory over De Soto.
In game one, the Cards jumped out to a 3-0 lead with the help of a few Paola errors.
"We took advantage of some of their mistakes," head coach Cara Kimberlin said. "That gave us a little bit of a cushion to work with."
Sophomore Brynn Hamilton made the lead stand with seven innings and nine strikeouts.
The Panthers scored two runs in the fourth to close the lead to 3-2.
But Paola, an aggressive team on the base paths, let themselves be at the mercy of Cardinal catcher Alissa Hamilton.
Hamilton picked off numerous runners in the game, none bigger than in the fifth.
The Panthers turned a walk and a hit into a first and third with nobody out situation.
Hamilton put a stop to the threat with a deceptive throw to second baseman Jacqueline Pyle, who quickly threw back to the plate.
The Paola runner took the bait and was left out to dry in a run down.
The Panthers failed to mount another threat.
"Alissa was in the zone behind the plate tonight," Kimberlin said. "She really helped us out defensively."
Eudora grabbed a little breathing room in the sixth when junior Michelle Deluna doubled to center, scoring Caitlyn Riser for a 4-2 lead.
For game two, the Cardinals sent Karen Spence to the mound against De Soto.
The junior left-hander helped put the cap on the five-game winning streak by going 6-1/3 innings, while giving up two runs, both unearned.
Spence helped her own cause by going 2-for-4 at the plate, while Deluna went 2-for-3 with two doubles. The junior shortstop had three doubles for the night.
The five-game winning streak helped the Cardinals get ready for the upcoming regionals.
"Psychologically I think we're in a good place," Kimberlin said. "We are hitting the ball real well and the pitching has been really good."
Eudora traveled to Osawatomie Thursday for a pair of games against De Soto and the Trojans.
Game one saw the Cardinals shutout the Wildcats 8-0 behind a complete-game effort from Brynn Hamilton. The Cardinals rode the bats of Alissa Hamilton and Deluna, who both went 2-for-3.
Spence finished game one going 2-for-4.
The road was a little harder in game two for the Cardinals.
The Trojans gave Eudora everything it could handle, but the Cardinals rallied late to pull off the 5-4 win.
Sophomore Beth Folks, who had struck out in her three previous at bats, bunted her way on in the seventh, which allowed the big bats to drive her home.
"Beth had been struggling all night," Kimberlin said. "She just came out of nowhere with that bunt, but it was what we needed."
Spence went the distance for the Cardinals.
Kelsey Epperson went 2-for-4 in the second game.
The Cardinals (11-9) will be the No. 4 seed in the regionals and will face the No. 5 seed West Franklin (9-11), on Monday at Eudora. The Cardinals play their first game at 6:45 p.m., however the tournament begins at 1:30 p.m. with No. 3 seed Louisburg (12-8) taking on No. 6 seed Osawatomie (7-11).
Santa-Fe Trail (17-3) grabbed the No. 1 seed and will face No. 8 seed Sumner (6-14) at 3:15 p.m. No. 2 seed Spring Hill (17-3) will face No. 7 seed Baldwin (7-13) at 5 p.m.