Over the past two days, Maize South ace Ashlie Thissen had answered every call until the sixth inning of the state high school softball semifinal.
After throwing a gem against Blue Valley Southwest in the quarterfinal round and holding the two-time defending Class 5A champion Shawnee Heights to a three-run game through five innings, Heights hit three home runs in the bottom of the sixth. The Thunderbirds pulled away for an 8-3 win in the semifinal round.
The Heights home runs came from senior Sydney Wellshear, Kamrin Wells and Abigail Fischer. Although Maize South made a two-run rally in the top of the seventh, the deficit was too great to overcome.
Maize South’s appearance in the final four was its first since 2014, and the Mavericks had a much better showing this year against Shawnee Heights than at last year’s state tournament.
In 2018, Maize South entered as the No. 8 seed after upsetting rival Maize in the regional championship. The Mavericks were “embarrassed” in the quarterfinal round, losing 13-3 to the eventual champs.
Last year’s game was over after the first inning. The Mavericks showed fight through all seven in 2019.