SALINA — When sophomore pitcher McKenzie King asked Buhler coach Steve Patterson what to do differently now that she was pitching in the Class 4A softball tournament, Patterson gave a simple answer.
"I told her 'Don't do anything different kiddo,' " Patterson said. "Just do what you do."
Good answer. King threw a no-hitter and led Buhler to a 2-0 victory against No. 1 seed Silver Lake on Friday at Bill Burke Park. Buhler will play Mulvane this morning in the semifinals.
King had 13 strikeouts and only five hitters even put the ball in play. The only runner that got past second base was thrown out trying to steal third.
"She was on. She was on her game," Patterson said. "That was a big win for us."
With a 2-0 lead in the seventh inning, a little bit of nerves came over King. She walked a batter, but King ended it fittingly, with one last strikeout.
"I've never been to state before, so this is very exciting for me," King said. "It was a little nerve-racking toward the end. It was a nervous-excited, it's the seventh inning, we're up 2-0, it's state."
King got all the help she needed in the top of the sixth inning. Buhler got its first two runners on and Kacey Krehbiel bunted them to second and third with two outs.
Freshman Natalie Sebastian stepped up.
"I was nervous, there were two outs and it kind of decided whether we were going on or not," Sebastian said.
Sebastian roped a 2-1 pitch to left center, scoring Kimberly Patterson and Stephanie Patterson.
A program that one game the season before Steve Patterson arrived is now in the state semifinals.
"The worst we can do now is fourth place... so for us that's amazing," King said.
But is it enough?
"No, no, there is no way," King said.
Buhler 2, Silver Lake 0
Buhler 000 002 0 — 2 3 0 Silver Lake 000 000 0 — 0 0 2
WP- King. LP- Reid.
Mulvane 1, Girard 0 — Like it has most of the year, Mulvane scrapped together a run and then jumped on the back of senior pitcher Taylor Parsons the rest of the way.
Parsons pitched her 14th shutout, leading Mulvane to the semifinals.
"If Taylor gets a lead, I don't see too many people getting it from her," Mulvane coach Charles Mason said. "She started out, she was overpowering, then she became a grinder and we made the plays behind her."
Mulvane senior catcher Stephanie Wilson reached on an error in the fifth inning and Madison Bish came in to pinch run. Bish went all the way around the bases without a ball leaving the infield and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
"That's the way we've done it all year, doing the little things," Mason said.
Mulvane 1, Girard 0
Mulvane 000 010 0 — 1 1 2 Girard 000 000 0 — 0 4 1
WP- Parsons. LP- Dunlap.
Paola 4, Holton 0
Holton 000 000 0 — 0 4 1 Paola 001 030 x — 4 6 2
Basehor-Linwood 3, Colby 0
Colby 000 000 0 — 0 0 0 Basehor-Linwood 001 110 x — 3 3 2
WP- Redmond. LP- Mengel.