Cardinals land four on all-state softball team
It was the best season in Eudora softball history from the moment the Cardinals won their regional championship game, earning their first trip to the Class 4A state tournament.
That was more than a month ago, and it still keeps getting better.
The team again made program history by advancing to the state championship game, and finally did it one last time, landing four girls on the all-state softball team, the largest Cardinal contingent ever so honored.
Senior Caitlyn Riser and freshman Beth Folks pulled in 4A first-team honors, while senior Brynn Hamilton and junior Mackenzie Salzman were named to the second team.
"Four is the most we've ever had," Eudora coach Cara Kimberlin said. "We've had two make it before, but we've never had two on the first team."
It was a first-time honor for all the Eudora representatives except Salzman, who was also named to last year's team.
Folks, one of two catchers named to the first team, led Eudora in most offensive categories despite playing in just her first year of high school softball. She scored 20 runs, had 33 hits, seven triples and two home runs, hitting .471 in 70 at bats -- all team-best stats.
"We haven't ever had anyone make it as a freshman," Kimberlin said. "She just had a great season with the bat and was really solid behind the plate for us."
Riser, who pitched at times, but shined most often playing second, led the team with 10 doubles and 22 RBIs, hitting .377 on the season. Her bat fit well with her defensive prowess as she finished off the regular season with just one error.
"She was absolutely solid for us at second," Kimberlin said. "I can think of a number of occasions where she ranged to her right and took away balls that looked like they would get through."
Hamilton was the team's prominent pitcher, and solidified her spot on the all-state roster with a fantastic postseason, Kimberlin said.
In addition to pitching the team to four upsets -- two in the regional tournament and two at state -- Hamilton was eight-for-eight from the plate at state and had a hand in each of Eudora's five runs scored at the tournament.
Hamilton finished the season with a 1.65 earned run average.
Salzman, one of four outfielders named to the second team, earned her second straight all-state nod with a .377 batting average.