LAWRENCE — Goddard pitcher Jessica Sturm isn't out to spare anyone's feelings this weekend. Not teammates, not opposing players — and most certainly not the umpire who found himself in the path of her fury Friday at the Class 6A softball tournament.
"She can get pretty fired up," Goddard coach Rita Smith said. "I think she just got a little frustrated with the (strike) zone."
During the sixth inning of an 11-3 victory over Derby that put the Lions in today's noon semifinal against Olathe Northwest, the home-plate umpire stopped play to tell Smith to warn her senior pitcher that if she directed one more word in his direction, she would be ejected.
"I guess there comes a time where you need to swallow your pride a little bit," said Sturm, who struck out four, walked four and gave up six hits for the victory."... But on the other hand, it's state, and if you can't figure out the strike zone then maybe you shouldn't be here."
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It was also Sturm who started the scoring for Goddard with a two-run double in the first inning after Derby took a 1-0 lead. Sturm finished 3 for 3 with two runs and two RBIs. The Lions led 4-1 after the first inning and pushed their lead to 8-1 after four innings.
"We got down early, so it kind of lets everybody breathe a little easier when we can get those runs back quickly," Sturm said.
Goddard's Cori O'Donoghue went 3 for 3 with two RBIs and Madison Demel was 1 for 2 with two runs and an RBI.
"I think Kayla (Oldham) got a little frustrated with the tight strike zone to begin with, and that kind of snowballed," Derby coach Christy Weve said. "And they out-hit us."
Smith's five seniors finished third at state as freshmen and haven't been back until this year.
"We're ready for this, this is what it's all about," Sturm said. "We're seniors, and you get here, your only goal is to win the whole thing."
Olathe Northwest 7, Maize 6 — Maize couldn't complete a rally from a 7-4 deficit as Leah Taliaferro popped out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Devon McCreath had a monster game for the Eagles, hitting a three-run home run in the first inning that smacked the scoreboard at Arrocha Ball Park, scored on a throwing error in the fourth to give Maize a 4-3 lead and drew a bases-loaded walk in the seventh that made the score 7-6.
"It's tough to lose a game like this where we've done so much to get back in it and really believed we could pull it out," said McCreath, who will play for Pittsburg State next season. "And then after you lose, it's emotional because you've played with all these girls for so long and this is it."
Derby (22-2) 100 001 1 — 3 6 2 Goddard (23-1) 403 103 x — 11 12 1
Washburn Rural (20-3) 100 000 0 — 1 5 0 Olathe South (19-4) 000 000 0 — 0 2 1
Lawrence (14-9) 000 00 — 0 0 4 Olathe East (23-0) 190 1x — 11 10 1
Olathe Northwest (19-4) 200 104 0 — 7 7 1 Maize (21-2) 300 101 1 — 6 7 2
W—Ramos. L—Grimes. HR—Olathe Northwest, Wilson; Maize, McCreath.