Lady Eagles top Hume in state quarterfinals, 10-2
A pitchers’ battle devolved into a melee on Wednesday, as the Purdy softball team put up 5 runs in the sixth and seventh innings to earn a 10-2 win and Class 1 State Semifinal berth.
Lori Videmschek, Purdy coach, said it was a relief for her team to finally overcome the state quarterfinal hump.
“It’s huge,” she said. “When these seniors were freshmen, we lost to Liberal on the road on a home run, then as sophomores, we lost here [in Purdy] to Mt. Vernon on a home run. Today, we just did not want to lose, and the kids did an outstanding job. They were grinding at the plate and eventually came up with the big hits when we needed them. I’m so proud of all of these kids.”
The Lady Eagles had left a couple runners on base in the first five innings, but they largely could not drive a ball out of the infield. That changed as Kinsley Mattingly restarted the lineup in top of the sixth. She cracked a double to right field, starting a run that would ultimately win the game.
Lauren Schallert singled Mattingly home, then a missed catch at first gave Purdy runners on second and third, allowing Robyn Schad to double to the right field fence for a 3-0 lead. Bowman popped a double after that, scoring two more runners.
In the seventh, with two outs on the board, Schallert nailed a triple, then a Bayleigh Robbins pop-up dropped to score a run and Schad doubled to bring the score to 7-0. Dally Craig then tripled to send Schad home, and Jessi Hoppes hit what looked like a double, but sloppy fielding allowed her to get to third, the throw to which went into the dugout and sent her home for an inside-the-park homer and 10-0 lead.
“We knew that once we woke up that plate, we’d be good,” Videmschek said. “When we relaxed and started hitting strikes and leaving the change-ups, that’s when we started scoring. That double by Kinsley to lead off the sixth was big, and everyone followed.”
Schallert said the rally was long overdue.
“Those first five innings we just went up there swinging, but in the sixth we put it together and started hitting what their pitcher was giving us,” she said. “I was really excited to hit that triple. It was my first, and I don’t get to run the bases often, so that was exciting for me.”
Schallert was a force to be reckoned with on the mound. She struck out the first 11 batters in a row that she faced, winding up with 19 Ks by the end of the contest. She gave up 2 hits, 0 walks and 0 batters hit.
“I just threw my pitches, and if they got a hit, I knew my team behind me would work to get the out for me,” she said. “When we came into the seventh, I pictured it as 0-0 or us down 1 and gave it my all.”
Videmschek said her pitcher just did what she does.
“We knew she would pitch her game like she does and the defense would be there behind her,” Videmschek said. “She made their hitters earn it to get on base.”
Videmschek said in the final frame, she told her team to take things slow and work their way to the final outs.
“I told them to take it one out at a time,” she said. “They made some adjustments and put the ball in play, but we played balanced defense and got the outs we needed.”
Purdy will face Advance on Thursday at 4 p.m., and Schallert said the Lady Eagles’ seniors are ready to go.
“It’s been four years since we’ve been this far,” she said. “We lost in the quarterfinals in my freshman and sophomore years, so to do this as a senior, our last run, is really exciting.”