Girls bounce back, thump Cats
Eudora coach Cara Kimberlin told her players before Tuesday's doubleheader with De Soto they had two choices on how they could end their 2006 season in front of the home crowd.
She explained that they could either finish the business they started during the season and go out on top, or overlook their opponent and lose their final games at Eudora.
With Kelsey Epperson, Laura Williams, Michelle Deluna and Karen Spence celebrating senior night, the Cardinals chose the latter.
Eudora blanked the visiting Wildcats 10-0 and 8-0 to secure a 15-5 record for the season and the number two seed in next week's regional at De Soto.
The wins were a welcome relief for a team that had lost three of its last five games and needed some momentum heading into the postseason.
"We definitely needed that," Kimberlin said. "We'd been struggling for the last week and we needed to kind of get things back on track going into Monday, so I think we accomplished that."
The Cardinals used a four-run first inning to all but settle game one from the start.
Two of the runs were unearned as Eudora managed only one hit in the inning.
Spence got the nod for the Cardinals to start and finished her home career with six shutout innings and seven strikeouts, notching her seventh win of the year.
Freshman Bailey Scott and sophomore catcher Kayci Vickers each had three hits in the game one win.
To add to the senior night festivities, a pair of juniors combined to pitch a no-hitter in the Cardinals game-two win.
Caitlyn Riser and Brynn Hamilton pitched game two and limited the Wildcats to only a pair of base runners, both of which were awarded first after being hit by pitches.
Riser pitched four of the innings in the no-hitter, getting her first win of the season, and although she acknowledged the achievement, the focus remained on what was to come.
"We really had a tough week last week," Riser said. "Pitching like that gives us a lot of confidence going into regionals, especially for me because I haven't pitched many innings this year."
Offensively, game two saw another big inning decide the contest, as the Cardinals put five runs across in the fourth inning to stretch a 3-0 lead to 8-0. Hamilton delivered a two-run single to cap the inning.
The doubleheader sweep put the finishing touch on the careers of the four seniors, three of whom will go on to play softball at the college level.
"It's been a great experience," Spence said. "I love the team and the coach and it's been so much fun. I wouldn't pick any other team to be on."
The Cardinals begin regional play Monday with a rematch against De Soto.
In the final road game of the 2006 season, it was all set up for a come-from-behind win for the Cardinals Thursday at Baldwin as the team threatened to take the lead with runners at second and third with no outs and trailing 3-2.
Baldwin's Callie Craig had other ideas, though, as she struck out Mackenzie Salzman and Riser before coaxing a weak ground ball from Karen Spence to end the game.
"That's the best opportunity you're going to get," Kimberlin said. "We just had to put the ball in play and we'd at least have had the game tied."
The Cardinals got on the board first in the top of the second inning to lead 1-0. The lead held until the fourth inning when Baldwin used a double and sacrifice fly to tie the game at one. The Bulldogs added two more runs in the fifth off starter Spence to push the advantage to 3-1.
Hamilton closed the gap in the top of the sixth with a two-out solo home run, but the inability to execute proved costly to the Cardinals as they suffered their third loss in five games.