Varsity Kansas

Emotional turn shakes up Maize softball

GODDARD — The Maize softball team didn't hesitate when coach Jenny Meirowsky asked if they wanted to play the second game of a doubleheader at Goddard on Friday night. The Eagles had won the first game 8-6 to clinch the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail Division I title.

During that game, the grandmother of teammate Dommi O'Nelio, Marlene Stine, collapsed behind the stands. She was given CPR until an ambulance arrived to take over. O'Nelio stood by crying, watching the woman who had raised her since her mother died when she was a child.

Stine was taken to Wesley Medical Center, where she was listed in critical condition Friday night.

When that first game ended, the Maize players walked around in a daze, hugging family members and friends, wiping tears away.

But when the question was posed, they agreed to play for Stine.

"There's no way she wouldn't want us to play," senior Abby Furstenberg said. "We had a little crying session in right field, and we decided (playing) was the best thing to do."

The players wrote "Nini" (for Stine) in black ink on one wrist, "Doms" (O'Nelio) on the other. Then they promised Meirowsky they would focus.

Focusing was difficult, though, and Goddard won 5-4.

"We were all nervous because we knew she would want us to win," Furstenberg said. "We tried to do our best... but we were not focused."

The Eagles (15-1) committed two errors on routine plays in the first inning and trailed 4-0 heading into the second.

"They came and huddled right over here before we batted again," Meirowsky said. "They said, 'we have to focus and get it done.' "

Maize answered with four runs in the top of the second. But Goddard (11-3) used a groundout RBI in the second by freshman Lakyn Lindsay to take the 5-4 lead for good.

The Lions were on their own roller coaster Friday. Many of the Lions' players knew Stine, and Goddard was without three starters. Shelby Davis, a 2009 All-Metro outfielder, broke a knuckle in a game against Derby on Monday. She's out for the season. Starting pitcher Jessica Sturm had a migraine, then went to the hospital because of dehydration. Starting shortstop Cori O'Donoghue has an elbow injury and is out for a week.

"I'm so proud of them," Goddard coach Rita Smith said. "Talk about competing."

Goddard used four freshmen in the first game, two more than usual. And Lindsay, who had three RBIs in Game 2, was playing varsity for the first time.

Maize001 201 4 —8 8 1 Goddard001 020 3 — 6 13 4

WP—Kern. LP—Harris. HR—Seeman, Maize; Furstenberg, Maize; Medbury, Goddard.

Maize040 000 0 — 4 7 2 Goddard410 000 x — 5 7 1

WP—Harris. LP—Vitale. HR—Seeman, Maize.