MAIZE — Marlene Stine was swarmed by the Maize softball team and hoisted the regional championship plaque Friday night.
Maize defeated Goddard 4-2 in the regional championship and advances to the Class 6A tournament next Friday in Lawrence.
Stine, the grandmother of Maize player Dommi O'Nelio, was back in the stands cheering for the team three weeks after she collapsed during a Maize game at Goddard and was given CPR.
"We played for my grandma, and we had to get the job done," O'Nelio said. "She's been talking about it all week... it was really special for her and us."
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"That's very special, the whole team thinks so much of Marlene... she's obviously team grandma. Part of it was for her today," Maize coach Jenny Meirowsky said.
Maize (19-3) scored four runs in the third inning to take control.
With one out, Laura Seeman battled a nine-pitch at-bat to draw a walk. Katlyn Kern reached on a ground ball to shortstop. Karissa Williams followed with an infield single to load the bases.
Devon McCreath singled to right to drive in two runners. Abby Furstenberg followed with a seven-pitch at-bat and a two-RBI double to center field that gave Maize a 4-1 lead.
Maize hitters made Goddard pitcher Jessica Sturm throw 38 pitches in the inning.
"When pressure is on, you've got to do your job, and they did just that," Meirowsky said. "Good mental game for the girls."
Katlyn Kern pitched seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits. Kern struck out five.
Sarah Haywood drove in both runs for Goddard (17-5).
Goddard threatened in the seventh. It had the tying runs in scoring position with two outs, but Kern got the final out.
"They got the key hits. The last couple of innings we had base runners on, we just didn't get that one key hit. ... That was the difference," Goddard coach Rita Smith said. "My kids competed for seven innings, and I liked how they fought back after the one big inning. I'm nothing but proud of them."
Maize 4, Goddard 2
Goddard 010 001 0—2 7 0 Maize 004 000 x—4 7 2
Maize 15, Wichita South 0
Wichita South 000 — 0 0 3 Maize 852 —15 11 0
W—Vitale. L— Gregg.
Goddard 7, Wichita East 0
Wichita East 000 000 0—0 2 2 Goddard 330 001 x— 7 11 1