WELLINGTON — Throughout the championship game Tuesday night of the Class 4A regional at Wellington, Rose Hill starting pitcher Keelyn Bonar couldn't help but remember what happened to her team last year.
In the same position, the Rockets fell to Mulvane in the bottom of the seventh inning, barely missing out on a chance at state.
Bonar wasn't going to let that happen again.
Pitching perhaps her finest game of the season, Bonar led Rose Hill to a 3-0 victory over Augusta and a trip to the 4A Tournament in Salina next week.
"All of the game last year was replaying in my mind," said Bonar, who allowed two hits while striking out eight. "Tonight, I had to dig down deep and see what I was made of, so we could go to state."
As soon as Rose Hill defeated Wellington in the semifinals, Rockets' coach Kathy Santo was mentally preparing her team for a rematch with Mulvane. But instead, Augusta knocked off Mulvane, 6-3, on the other side of the bracket.
This changed Santo's plan of revenge, but it didn't diminish the overall idea she was preaching to her team.
"Nothing against Augusta, but I was wondering coming into today how we would deal with playing Mulvane again," Santo said. "Honestly, I think it helped us mentally not having to play Mulvane again."
Augusta didn't get its first hit off Bonar until the fourth inning and only once did the Orioles make it past first base.
Bonar mostly used her fastball, but occasionally mixed in her changeup to keep hitters off balance. She said she was pitching to contact and trusting her defense to make plays behind her, which they did, committing no errors.
"I was trying to keep the ball on the ground and let the defense make the plays," Bonar said. "I tried to keep myself in a rhythm and move the ball from side to side and up and down."
Not only did Bonar overwhelm Augusta on the mound, but she was also the Rockets' main offensive weapon.
Clinging to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth, Rose Hill had runners on second and third with one out, with Bonar at the plate.
On the first pitch, she roped a line drive into left field, which scored both runners and essentially put the game out of reach, with the way she was pitching.
"I know when Keelyn is on the mound, she can get rolling and change the momentum of the game and she did that tonight," Santo said. "I was so proud of how she performed tonight."
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