With the softball postseason looming — regional play begins Monday — Northwest wanted to finish its season on a strong note.
Northwest defeated Maize, the defending Class 6A champion, 12-3 Friday night at Two Rivers Youth Club. It was Maize's first loss.
"We were ready," Northwest senior Kelsey Berlin said. "We wanted this so bad. We felt like we had a lot to prove. We proved it."
Northwest (17-3) had stumbled briefly, getting swept by Bishop Carroll, which won the City League title.
"That lit a fire under our butts," said Berlin, whose team also beat Dodge City 10-1.
Northwest committed just one error against Maize.
"Before the game, we were like, nothing goes past you," Berlin said. "If it does, you forget about it and move on."
It didn't hurt that senior pitcher Mac Millspaugh returned from a shoulder injury that had sidelined her for most of the season. She gave up one run and four hits, striking out two in four innings.
"I'm rusty," Millspaugh said. "It felt really, really good, and I felt comfortable out there. I was pretty inconsistent. Some of my pitches were working really well, and others were flat. This is the first tough team I've pitched against. I feel comfortable, but I have to work on not having flat pitches."
Northwest's hitting was impressive. Every player scored, eight had hits and Carlyn Walsh and Erica David homered.
With the score tied 1-all in the bottom of the fourth, David opened the inning with a solo homer to right. Millspaugh had a two-run double and then Walsh hit a three-run homer with two outs.
Emily Henning was 3 for 4, while Berlin and Millspaugh were 2 for 4.
Northwest took advantage of two Maize errors in the fourth, then scored four more runs in the fifth when Maize had three errors. Maize had six errors in the game.
"We had too many errors, and our bats weren't there this game," Maize coach Jenny Meirowsky said. "We haven't had that problem this year, and our bats didn't show up. "They've got a great pitcher, two of them. They just crushed the ball. It forced us to have errors, and we didn't answer back."
Maize got an RBI double from Tori Gloudeman in the fourth. Peyton Jones added a two-run single in the fifth, while Maddi Putman had a homer to right in the seventh.
"This may be a bit of a wakeup call," Meirowsky said. "That's the caliber of team we'll see at state."
Maize defeated Dodge City 11-1 in the split doubleheader.
Northwest 10, Dodge City 1
Dodge City010 000 0 — 1 3 0 Northwest800 020 x — 10 10 0
Maize 11, Dodge City 1
Dodge City000 100 0 — 1 2 3 Maize610 031 x — 11 11 1
Northwest 12, Maize 3
Maize000 120 0 — 3 8 6 Northwest001 740 x — 12 12 1
WP—Millspaugh. LP—Grimes. HR—David, Northwest; Walsh, Northwest; Putman.