LAWRENCE — Goddard pitcher Jessica Sturm noticed a little lull in her teammates during the 15-minute gap between the Lions' semifinal loss and third-place game against Olathe East.
And so, as a senior leader, Sturm decided she had to say something.
"At the beginning, we were all disappointed," Sturm said. "I kind of had to yell at everyone and say, 'You've gotta pick yourself up. We don't want to go out on a loss and get fourth. We want to get third.' "
It seemed to work as Goddard (23-2) rolled past top-seeded Olathe East 6-2, winning the third-place trophy. And much of the Lions' success had to do with Sturm.
Sturm wasn't flawless against Olathe East's high-powered offense, but she stranded most of the runners she allowed on base.
Sturm started each of Goddard's three games at the state tournament, and she closed her high school career by picking up the win.
She also had plenty of help offensively.
Shelby Davis, another senior, used her speed on the bases to generate runs. In the third inning, Davis scored from second on Mikayla Medbery's bunt. Then, in the sixth, Davis drove in a run with a triple and later stole home, extending Goddard's lead to 6-2.
Cori O'Donoghue added an RBI single in Goddard's four-run third inning, and Kelsey Harris drove in two with a double. Those proved to be all the runs Sturm needed.
"You could tell that they were hanging their heads down a little bit after that," Goddard coach Rita Smith said. "It was just a long day for both teams, mentally and physically."
In the semifinals, Goddard's offense fell silent against Olathe Northwest in an 8-2 loss. But the Lions rallied quickly — they only had about 15 minutes to do so — and held on for the win.
"Letdown-wise, that's tough to just bounce back and regroup and play an Olathe East team that was undefeated going into state," Smith said. "I'm just extremely proud."
Goddard (23-2) 004 002 0 — 6 8 1 Olathe East (22-3) 000 001 0 — 1 9 1
Olathe Northwest (21-4) 102 060 0 — 9 10 1 Washburn Rural (20-5) 010 000 0 — 1 6 2
Olathe Northwest (20-4) 100 100 6 — 8 14 0 Goddard (22-2) 100 000 1 — 2 4 3
Washburn Rural (20-4) 000 010 002 — 3 7 0 Olathe East (22-2) 000 001 000 — 1 9 1