Ring ‘em up
Henderson records 245th strikeout in Purdy win
For the third time in the last four seasons, the Purdy softball team has reached the doorstep of a Class 1 spring softball Final Four appearance.
The Lady Eagles travel to Liberal on Thursday for the quarterfinal round. The two teams met earlier this season with the Lady Bulldogs earning a 6-2 win.
“I remember that they hit the ball pretty well,” said Hallie Henderson, Purdy pitcher. “I hope that I can just keep them off balance and throw the ball hard.”
Getting hits off Henderson is something that several teams have struggled with this season. The senior entered the sectional round on Monday night with 229 strikeouts on the season and added 16 more tallies to her record for 245 on the season in a 9-0 win over Crane.
“Hallie shows no emotion and keeps hitting her spots,” said Lori Videmschek, Purdy coach. “Even when she gets behind in a count, she has the confidence to throw anything for a strike or get a groundball out for this team.”
On Monday, Henderson’s teammates gave her a boost with a 6-run first inning.
McKenzie Renkoski led off with a bunt single. Kylie Wood was hit by a pitch, and Henderson reached on an error that scored Renkoski.
Casey Ellison blasted a double to score Wood, and Henderson and Zoe Brown traded places with Ellison with a double of her own. Mikey Schad reached on an error and a passed ball, and another error on the Lady Pirates allowed the Lady Eagles to clear the bases.
For the next four innings, the Purdy bats fell largely silent, unable to get the clutch hit, or worse, make solid contact.
“I loved the way we approached our at-bats in the first inning,” Videmschek said. “After that inning, our approach changed and it wasn’t for the better. You need to credit Crane. Those girls took away a couple of hard hit balls, but when we jump on teams, we can’t let up.”
Despite the momentary pause in the offensive production, Henderson was relentless in the circle, allowing just two hits — a single and a double.
Liberal defeated Pierce City, 4-2, on Monday to set up the showdown for the right to go to the Final Four.
Both Videmschek and Henderson said the team goals are simple.
“We have to come out ready to play and hit the ball early,” Videmschek said. “Defensively, we need to be ready to counter their energy and be aggressive.”
First pitch at Liberal is set for 5 p.m..