MANHATTAN — Heading into the fifth inning of a tight game against Riley County at the Class 3A softball tournament on Friday, Medicine Lodge coach Cheri Dohrmann wasn't worried that her team had yet to record a hit.
She was confident for two reasons: her players were showing a great deal of composure, and sophomore pitcher Montana Bailey was on top of her game. In time, she figured that combination would produce a victory.
Sure enough, the Indians quickly strung together back-to-back singles and won 3-0. Medicine Lodge will play Osage City at 10 a.m. today.
"Even though the bats weren't really turning out the way we wanted, they didn't dwell on it," Dohrmann said. "They kept their focus and kept doing well. All it takes is one big hit to get everything going. Once we got one, everything fell into place."
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The big hits came from Megan Honas and Stephanie Dierksen. Honas led off the fifth with a single, Dierksen moved her to third with a single of her own and both later scored. Honas scored on a passed ball, Dierksen on a sacrifice fly from Maranda Moody.
Dohrmann was particularly proud of their efforts, because all three hit near the bottom of Medicine Lodge's order.
"Today it was the bottom of our lineup that really stepped up," Dohrmann said. "The other girls did great, too, but this time of year getting things like that are really what help you win."
That and a brilliant performance from your pitcher. Bailey, a sophomore, allowed three infield singles and no runs. Riley County hit a handful of balls hard.
"She just never lost composure," Dohrmann said. "You look at her face, and she never shows any sign of worry. She's always confident and focused. She doesn't play mind games. She sees the batter and just throws the pitch that is going to blow by her."
Riley County (12-12) 000 000 0 — 0 3 1 Medicine Lodge (23-1) 100 020 0 — 3 3 0
Hillsboro 8, Thomas More Prep 2 — There's just something about being the favorite that agrees with the Hillsboro softball team.
At this time a year ago, the Trojans entered the 3A tournament as an underdog and lost in the first round to Thomas More Prep. But on Friday they entered as one of the favorites and crushed the same opponent.
Hillsboro coach Stephanie Sinclair said she originally was less than thrilled to once again face the Monarchs, but those worries disappeared when she witnessed her team's care-free attitude during warmups.
"They knew it wasn't last year," Sinclair said. "They knew we weren't the underdog. We played with more confidence than we did when we were here last year."
For that reason, the Trojans had a big day at the plate and never trailed.
Stephanie Sanders led the charge with three hits, Taylor Nikkel had two singles and pitcher Courtney Weber helped her own cause with a two-run single in the first inning. That led to an early 3-0 lead.
"Coming straight out in the first inning and getting on the scoreboard was big," Sinclair said. "That gets these kids going once they have a couple hits."
In all, Hillsboro totaled nine hits and scored in all but two innings. In the field, the Trojans were equally strong. Behind a fine effort from Weber, who struck out four and allowed six hits, the game was never in doubt.
"Courtney threw a great game, and we had really good defense behind her," Sinclair said. "It was a great all-around game."
Hillsboro will next take on Riverton at 10 a.m. today.
Thomas More Prep (17-7) 011 000 0 — 2 6 1 Hillsboro (23-1) 310 202 x — 8 9 0
Riverton 4, St. Marys 3
St Marys (19-5) 030 000 0 — 3 3 0 Riverton (21-1) 003 001 x — 4 9 1
Colgan 2, Wabaunsee 1
Wabaunsee (13-11) 000 001 0 — 1 3 1 Pittsburg Colgan (23-1) 000 000 2 — 2 3 1
Spearville 14, Yates Center 6
Yates Center (9-13) 000 510 — 6 6 6 Spearville (23-1) 210 209 — 14 17 0
Chetopa 9, Sylvan 1
Syvlan/Lucas-Luray (13-9) 010 000 0 — 1 2 3 Chetopa (21-3) 402 210 0 — 9 8 3
Chase County 9, Inman 4
Inman (16-8) 000 013 0 — 4 8 2 Chase County (17-5) 310 104 0 — 9 14 5