MANHATTAN — Even though his team lost to Osage City 1-0 on the final play at the Class 3A softball tournament Friday, Halstead coach Bob Drake walked off the field with a smile.
"It's not what we were hoping for, but we played so well," he said. "You can't knock that.... I couldn't have been more pleased with what I saw today."
He was upbeat for one main reason. Halstead (14-10) came into Friday's action as the tournament's No. 7 seed and was one play away from forcing extra innings against No. 2-seed Osage City.
Junior pitcher Aubrie VanSteenberg put Halstead in that position. She held Osage City (21-3) to four hits, and it wasn't until the Dragons committed an infield error in the final inning that Halstead allowed a run.
"Aubrie VanSteenberg did a fantastic job pitching and then she had some good backup," Drake said. "Our defense played well, otherwise we wouldn't have gone into the seventh inning a 0-0 ballgame."
That lone mark on the scoreboard was all Osage City needed to advance to today's semifinals, though. The Dragons managed one hit against Carly Spicer.
Earlier in the year, Drake isn't so sure Halstead would have been able to stay in the game without more offense. But as the season went on, the Dragons learned how to "fight until the end."
Halstead said goodbye to four seniors with Friday's loss, but is confident about its chances next season.
"We've still got a pretty good nucleus here," Drake said.
Frontenac 3, Hillsboro 1 —One bad inning was enough to end Hillsboro's season.
The loss came after Hillsboro built a 1-0 lead after five innings. The Trojans, behind the impressive pitching of Courtney Webber, were six outs away from advancing.
But Frontenac (20-3), which had seven hits, put together a three-run rally in the sixth and held Hillsboro scoreless in the seventh to win.
Hillsboro (19-5) had five hits and committed three errors. The game was scoreless through four innings.
Marysville (12-12) 010 200 0 — 3 10 0 Caney Valley (21-1) 010 120 x — 4 4 0
Halstead (19-5) 000 000 0 — 0 1 1 Osage City (21-3) 000 000 1 — 1 4 0
Hillsboro (14-10) 000 010 0 — 1 5 3 Frontenac (21-3) 000 003 x — 3 7 1
Larned (15-9) 010 100 000 2 — 4 6 0 McLouth (20-6) 000 000 200 0 — 2 5 4
W—Perez. L—Leach. HR—Larned, Snyder.