Defense has led the Pratt softball team to a 20-0 record heading into its Class 4A regional game tonight.
“All year, we’ve probably made 11 errors,” Pratt coach Mike Forshee said. “Our defense has been real solid. I’ve had some coaches tell me that we just don’t beat ourselves. If you can do that, in any sport, you’ll be successful.”
The defense starts with Pratt’s pitching — ace Brittnee Hill (12-0), a sophomore, and junior Kinzie Spurgin. Second baseman Avery Newman is a backup pitcher who enters in relief.
Pratt also has a lineup that can hit, although not for power.
Newman, sophomore left fielder Dakota Jones and Spurgin, also a first baseman, are all hitting better than .400.
“We’ve been real consistent all around,” Forshee said.
Retirement — If Andale-Garden Plain coach Doris Hein could have kept her impending retirement quiet until she was gone, she would have. But a coach who has state titles in Class 5A and 4A three of the past four seasons, should be honored.
Family is the reason Hein, 55, is going to retire after starting Andale’s program in 2000.
“I feel like it’s the right time,” she said. “I’ve got four daughters and one boy. I’ve got to coach all of my daughters, and my youngest is a boy and he’s a freshman. I’ll get to watch him in whatever he does in the spring. He’s a decent athlete himself. And I’ve got three grandkids, and Molly ( a senior pitcher) is going on to play college ball at Newman, so I can watch her. Sometimes it feels like the right time.”
Heights responds — When Heights opened the season with Campus, Carroll and Northwest, coach Kip Pulliam knew it wouldn’t be easy.
“I told them from the get-go, ‘There’s a possibility we could be 6-0 or be 0-6 after our first six games,’” he said. “I didn’t want them to get down on themselves. They were prepared for both ways, and it just happened to go the wrong way.”
But the Falcons recovered from the 0-6 start and are on a 14-game winning streak after finishing third in the City League at 12-4.
“We opened with such good pitching, some of the best we’ll see all year,” Pulliam said. “We got our timing down, we’re hitting the ball and making things happen.”
Senior Bree Drury, who plays in the outfield and infield, has eight homers and is hitting .547 . Katie Mertes, a third baseman and catcher, is hitting .594 with four homers and 10 doubles.
Rose Hill’s recovery — As Rose Hill prepares for its regional at Mulvane, Rockets coach Kathy Santo firmly believes her team has a shot at advancing to the 4A tournament. Then again, she thinks several other teams do, too, including Mulvane, Augusta and Clearwater.
“I think it could still be anybody’s ballgame,” she said.
Rose Hill was swept by Clearwater early in the season, but split with Mulvane and Augusta.
Rose Hill (12-8) has had its struggles, mainly as it transitioned to having one of the area’s best pitching staffs to a young staff. Juniors Ashton Wheeler and Bailey Santo took over on the mound.
“Our pitchers are working hard, but there’s more balls in play,” Kathy Santo said. “We have to play more balls than last year because we don’t have the dominant pitching of the last couple years.”
The defense has adjusted, and with that improvement came better hitting. Senior Tori Beltz is hitting over .500, while senior Marisa McGregor is an athlete who can play multiple positions.