Varsity Softball

Derby softball’s magical run ends with drama in Kansas state high school semifinals

2018 All-Metro Softball selection, Derby’s Madi Young

Derby junior Madi Young was selected to the Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro Softball team.
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Derby junior Madi Young was selected to the Wichita Eagle's 2018 All-Metro Softball team.

Coming into Friday’s Class 6A state softball semifinal, Derby’s Madi Young was tied with her sister for career runs scored.

In her first at-bat, with nobody on in the first inning, she passed Kenzie Young on an inside-the-park home run to give Derby High a 1-0 lead over Washburn Rural, the only undefeated team left in 6A. After she crossed home, she yelled toward her dugout along with Mariah Wheeler.

Madi Young showed why she is the face of Derby softball despite suffering the 6-5 loss.

Young finished the day 2-for-4 with two RBI, excluding the home run, and no strikeouts against one of the top pitchers in Kansas, Rural’s Kasey Hamilton. Young was not alone. Despite scoring one fewer run than the Junior Blues, Derby finished its season with 10 hits. The Panthers left six on base.

After Young’s home run in the top of the first, the Panthers went cold on the scoreboard until the top of the sixth. Trailing 6-1 with six outs to play with, Derby put four runs on the board, but they weren’t enough.

With the bases loaded and two outs, Young hit a two-RBI double. Wheeler, the next batter, hit a ground ball to second base that allowed senior Courtney Cline to come across. Derby coach Christy Weve sent Young in behind her to score the game-tying run.

She was thrown out at the plate.

But for Derby to be in that position to win was historic for the Panthers’ program. Heading into the 2019 state tournament, Derby had won nine straight regional championships. In those nine trips to state, the Panthers had one state tournament victory, in 2013.

Since then, the program has chipped away to reach the second day, and it did that Thursday with a 9-1 win over Topeka. The Panthers finished the state tournament splitting the third-place trophy.

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