To all of Lauryn Ogden’s teachers at Maize High: she apologizes for how hyper she was on Wednesday.
But Ogden — and the Maize softball team — were excited for Wednesday’s Class 5A regional, a chance to end a two-year absence from the state tournament.
Sure enough, the Eagles found enough energy to top Eisenhower 9-4 victory in the championship and Maize will return to the Class 5A tournament next week at Two Rivers Youth Complex in Wichita with a 20-2 record.
“I feel bad for my teachers because today was just a really hyper day for me,” Ogden said. “But I was just so ready to play.”
Ogden threw a complete game against Eisenhower to register the victory on the mound, while delivering a RBI hit at the plate for Maize.
Maize’s offense would come in constant waves, as Sophia Buzard, Savannah Hughes, Maura Glatczak, and Braeland Booth all came through with multi-hit performances and a combined eight runs batted in.
“I thought (Ogden) threw a great game on the mound and she moved it really well,” Maize coach Jenny Meirowski. “And then my hitters came up big when they needed to and had some two-out hits and scored runs in some big ways.”
Even with one of the best records in 5A — Maize will be the third seed at the state tournament and play Blue Valley Southwest in the first round — Meirowsky was still nervous on Wednesday before the championship game. After two straight years of losing in the regional championship game, the Maize coach was not ready to take anything for granted.
“I think my girls have been hungry to win all season,” Meirowsky said. “In the past, we’ve always been close but we haven’t been able to finish and get to state. So we’re excited to finally get back there and we’re ready to compete.”
Maize took an early 3-0 lead, as the tone was set by a leadoff home run by Buzard followed by RBI hits from Ogden and Booth.
But Eisenhower (10-10) would fight back, as Natalie Haywood would crank a fastball over the left-field fence for a 3-run shot to tie Maize in the third inning.
Maize responded in the bottom-half of the inning, as Glatczak gave the Eagles the lead back on a RBI double and then Booth followed with RBI single for a 5-3 lead. Hughes cranked another home run, this one a three-run blast, to push Maize’s lead to 8-3 in the fourth inning.
“We didn’t want us (missing state) to happen again,” Hughes said. “We felt like we’ve been good enough in the past, but we’ve just fell short in the end. We knew were good enough this year and I feel like being at home on our turf gave us the confidence and we were ready to play today.”
Eisenhower, which defeated Goddard 9-7 in the first game of the day, struggled to mount much of an attack against Ogden in the final innings, as Maize would secure its trip to the state tournament.
MAIZE 15, LIBERAL 2
|Liberal (6-15)||200||00||—||2 4 5|
|Maize (19-2)||642||3x||—||15 9 2|
W: Arnold. L: Chaloupek. HR: Maize, Buzard.
LIBERAL: Mein 0-3, Davis 0-1, Tatum 1-2, Chaloupek 1-2, Lanning 0-2, Guillen 1-2, Torres 1-2, Stoney 0-2, Chacon 0-2. Pitching: Chaloupek 4 IP-11 ER.
MAIZE: Buzard 1-3, Glass 0-1, Hughes 2-2, Glatczak 1-4, Ogden 3-4, Booth 2-4, Ast 0-2, Arnold 0-2, ,Fiegel 0-2. Pitching: Arnold 5 IP-2 ER.
EISENHOWER 9, GODDARD 7
|Eisenhower (10-9)||140||031||0||—||9 11 3|
|Goddard (14-7)||011||410||0||—||7 10 2|
W: Haywood. L: Williams.
MAIZE 9, EISENHOWER 4
|Eisenhower (10-10)||003||010||0||—||4 7 0|
|Maize (20-2)||302||301||x||—||9 13 0|
W: Ogden. L: Dexter. HR: Eisenhower, Haywood; Maize, Hughes, Buzard.
EISENHOWER: Furnish 2-4, Omli 2-3, Haywood 1-1, Denning 0-3, Rediger 1-2, Losey 0-3, Vosburg 0-3, Cole 0-2, Kurtz 1-2. Pitching: Dexter 3 IP-5 ER, Haywood 3-4.
MAIZE: Buzard 2-4, Glass 1-3, Hughes 2-4, Glatczak 3-4, Ogden 1-4, Booth 2-3, Ast 1-3, Hudson 0-2, Fiegel 1-3. Pitching: Ogden 7-4.