2016 State Softball Tournament Preview & Predictions

Washburn Rural headed to state in 6A, they won it all in 2014.
By: Sean Boston for Sports in Kansas
May 25, 2016

Share This Story:

6A

(1) Olathe Northwest Ravens (21-1)

Coach: Mark Mahoney

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 2 (6A: ‘09, ‘11)

The Ravens are another team that will play in back-to-back 6A state tournaments and will look to make it where they did last year, except win the state title this season. Olathe NW fell in the championship game in 2015 to Olathe South, 7-3. The junior pitching duo of Aubree Herrin and Natalie Hamm have been dominant in the circle and have an undefeated season between the two.

(2) Derby Panthers (20-2)

Coach: Christine Weve

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 0

Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League Champions return to state as the number two seed and are pursuing their first state championship.  The Panthers have been to state several times under Coach Weve, but have always come away empty handed. Last won their first round game in 2013, but lost in the quarter-finals in the past two seasons.  Led by senior Kenzie Young, Derby defeated Haysville Campus 7-5 to earn their berth to the Blue Valley West Softball Complex.

(3) Washburn Rural Junior Blues (20-2)

Coach: Brenda Holaday

Last trip: 2014

State Championships: 3 (6A: ‘95, ‘08, ‘14)

The Junior Blues will make an appearance in the 6A state tourney after missing out in 2015. The Washburn Rural offensive production has been strong all year, explaining the team’s overall .399 average. Junior Madison Roth leads the Rural pitching staff with a 15-2 record and a 1.59 ERA.

(4) Garden City Buffaloes (20-2)

Coach: Trina Moquett

Last trip: 2014

State Championships: 0

Garden City defeated Hutchinson 3-0 in the regional championship to advance to the state tournament.  Abbie Dart (18-2) has pitched 98 ⅓ innings with 191 strikeouts and a 0.57 ERA. The Buffaloes have only lost twice all season, both on the road, a 6-5 nail biter to Clay Center and 2-0 to Kapaun-Mt. Carmel, while finishing another undefeated season in the Western Athletic Conference.  

(5) Olathe South Falcons (20-2)

Coach: Mike Allen

Last trip: 2015

State championships: 3 (6-1A: ‘90, 6A: ‘96, ‘15)

The Falcons cruised through regional play without giving up a run, a 15-0 run rule over Shawnee Mission South and 9-0 victory over Blue Valley. Catcher Kala Holder, the Sunflower League Player of the Year, leads a talented squad looking to repeat as state champions. Four teams have identical 20-2 records, and South was assigned the fifth seed and will face fourth seeded Garden City from the Western Athletic Conference.  

(6) Northwest Grizzlies (18-4)

Coach: Cody Stucky

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 1 (6A: ‘99)

Northwest won their first round game in last year’s tournament against Hutchinson, but lost in the semi-finals to runner-up Olathe Northwest, then the third place game was canceled due to field conditions. This season the Grizzlies placed second in the Greater Wichita Athletic League behind powerhouse Bishop Carroll. Northwest earned their trip to Blue Valley by dominating Wichita East 16-1 and Wichita South 13-0.   

(7) Olathe East Hawks (17-5)

Coach: Jeff Hulse

Last trip: 2015

State championships: 8 (6A: ‘98, ‘01, ‘04, ‘05, ‘06, ‘07, ‘12, ‘13)

The Hawks punched their ticket back into the 6A tournament with wins over Shawnee Mission East and Blue Valley North, 7-0 and 8-1. Olathe East will try and make it past the quarterfinals where they fell to eventual state champion Olathe South, 2-1 in 8 innings. The Hawks will be the No. 7 seed on Thursday and will face No. 2 Derby for the right to advance to the state semifinals.

(8) Gardner-Edgerton Trailblazers (16-6)

Coach: Joanne Calvin

Last trip: 2015

State championships: 0

The Trailblazers knocked off Blue Valley NW 10-4 and Blue Valley West 2-0 to advance to the 6A state tourney. Although Gardner Edgerton is the No. 8 seed and will have to play No. 1 Olathe NW in Thursday’s quarterfinals, the Trailblazers will try to be the Cinderella story. Gardner-Edgerton’s run in 2015 was cut short as they lost in the quarterfinals to Olathe North, 4-3 in the No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup.

5A

(1) Bishop Carroll Golden Eagles (22-0)

Coach: Steve Harshberger

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 13 (6-1A: ‘79, ‘80, ‘87, 5-1A: ‘91, 5A: ‘93, ‘99, ‘01, ‘04, ‘11, ‘12, ‘13, ‘14, ‘15)

The Golden Eagles have been unstoppable and have one of the best-known traditions in the state. Carroll has won 77 consecutive games and the past five state titles. The Golden Eagles have been ranked in the top 10 in the nation over the past few years. The team is batting .521 while the team’s ERA is an astonishing 0.82. They’ve outscored opponents 358-20 in 22 games, averaging 16 runs per game.

(2) Goddard Lions (20-2)

Coach: Rita Smith

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 0

The Lions make the return trip east about 15 minutes to Wichita for the 5A state tournament after beating Liberal, 12-0 and Maize, 4-3 in the regional championship in walk-off fashion. Goddard is led by senior shortstop and Fresno State signee, Miranda Rohleder. Goddard lost in their first game in the 2015 state tournament to Topeka Seaman, 8-4. The Lions drew the No. 2 seed and will take on No. 7 St. Thomas Aquinas in an intriguing No. 2 vs. No. 7 matchup.

(3) Topeka Seaman Vikings (20-2)

Coach: Jay Monhollon

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 0

The Seaman Vikings will make their second straight trip down to Wichita after beating Topeka West 11-0 in the regional championship at Seaman. The Vikings have a team batting average of .444 and are led by senior Hailey Reed’s .627 average with 20 RBI.

(4) Shawnee Heights Thunderbirds (19-3)

Coach: Steve Giddens

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 0

The Thunderbirds cleared their path to Wichita with two convincing wins in regional play, beating Highland Park, 18-0 and Lansing, 8-3. Shawnee Heights took third place in 2015 after losing to eventual champion, Bishop Carroll and then beating Seaman, 9-5 in the third place game.

(5) Blue Valley Southwest Timberwolves (18-4)

Coach: Shari Schaake

Last trip: 2014

State Championships: 0

The Timberwolves are in the state tournament for just the second time in the school’s history. BVSW was the No. 8 seed in the 2014 state tournament and lost to No. 1 Topeka Seaman, 4-1. The Timberwolves received the semifinal bye in their regional and hammered St. James Academy 12-0 to punch their ticket into the state tourney.

(6) Valley Center Hornets (15-7)

Coach: Corey Jones

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 0

The Hornets beat Emporia 12-2 and then Salina Central 6-3 to advance to their second straight 5A state tournament. Valley Center will make the short drive south to Wichita for their matchup with No. 3 Topeka Seaman on Thursday at 7 p.m. The Hornets also faced Seaman in the state tournament in 2015 with the Vikings winning, 4-0.

(7) St. Thomas Aquinas Saints (14-8)

Coach: Christine Orel

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 3 (6-1A: ‘82, 5A: ‘97, ‘08)

The Saints are back in the state tournament after being shutout by No. 1 Bishop Carroll in the 5A quarterfinals a year ago, 7-0. St. Thomas Aquinas beat KC-Washington 15-0 and Mill Valley 4-3 in the regional played at the 3&2 Baseball Complex. Aquinas will be the No. 7 seed and will open with No. 2 Goddard on Thursday in Wichita.

(8) Andover Trojans (10-12)

Coach: Don Hager

Last trip: First appearance

State Championships: 0

The Trojans will try and cherish their first-ever state tourney appearance this Thursday as they’ll be the No. 8 seed and will play five-time defending state champs, No. 1 Bishop Carroll. Andover used a huge regional win over No. 1 Salina South, 5-3. Andover will look to knock off the Golden Eagles, in which would be the biggest upset in the state softball tournament history.

4A-I

(1) KC-Piper Pirates (18-2)

Coach: Stan McAfee

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 1 (4A: ‘94)

The Pirates will make their second straight trip to Salina after beating KC-Sumner Academy, 18-0 and Basehor-Linwood, 6-2 in the regional championship. KC-Piper will try to finish higher than they did a year ago, in which they took third place after beating Baldwin, 3-2.

(2) Spring Hill Broncos (18-3)

Coach: Shelly Huber

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 2 (6-1A: ‘86, 4A: ‘04)

The Broncos are making their second straight trip to Salina for the 4A-I state tournament. Spring Hill went into the 2015 tournament as the No. 1 seed overall and was upset by Baldwin, 3-1. The Broncos will try to rebound from that loss on Thursday as they’ll be the No. 2 seed and will face No. 7 Baldwin at 5 p.m.

(3) Augusta Orioles (18-4)

Coach: Shane Steinkamp

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 4 (4A: ‘00, ‘06, 4A-DI: ‘14, ‘15)

Augusta will look to three-peat, having won the past two titles and were runners-up in 2013. The Orioles advanced to Salina by defeating Andover Central 10-9 and Andale/Garden Plain 7-2.  The dominant pitching and hitting from past Augusta teams has given way to a bunch of girls doing what it takes to grind it out and find a way to outscore their opponents  They will face the sixth seeded Eudora Cardinals (16-6) from the Frontier League.

(4) Wellington Crusaders (17-5)

Coach: T.D. Buck

Last trip: 1995

State Championships: 0

The Crusaders punched their ticket to the state tournament for the first time since 1995. Wellington topped Winfield, 3-1 for the regional championship and the trip to Salina. The Crusaders were propelled in the game by a solo home run from senior Central Florida commit, Ryleigh Buck.

(5) Independence Bulldogs (17-5)

Coach: Dale Reynolds

Last trip: 2001

State Championships: 0

The Bulldogs punched their ticket to the state tournament for the first time in 15 years after beating Coffeyville-Field Kindley, 8-1 and Chanute, 11-6. Independence is led by sophomore Hannah Burnett, who’s hitting .614 with 16 RBI and 4 triples. The Bulldogs will have the No. 7 seed and will face No. 2 Spring Hill on Thursday in Salina.

(6) Eudora Cardinals (16-6)

Coach: Bill Finucane

Last trip:

State Championships: 0

The Cardinals advanced to the 4A-I state tournament after knocking off Tonganoxie, 5-4. Eudora will fill Salina with red as both the Cardinals softball and baseball team’s will be playing in the 4A-I state tournament.

(7) Baldwin Bulldogs (14-8)

Coach: Chad Scoby

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 0

The Bulldogs will advance to the 4A-I state tournament for the second year in a row and will try to do what they did in 2015. Baldwin was the No. 8 seed and knocked off No. 1 Spring Hill in the quarterfinals. Baldwin was then beaten by Andale/Garden Plain before the Bulldogs fell in the third place game to KC-Piper, 3-2. Baldwin beat Wamego, 5-4 before beating Ottawa, 9-7 in 8 innings to advance back to state.

(8) Hays Indians (10-10)

Coach: Erin Wagner

Last trip: 2014

State Championships: 0

The Hays Indians blasted their way back into a state tournament after hitting three home runs in the regional championship and overcoming a five-run deficit to beat McPherson. Hays last went to the state tournament in 2014 in class 5A, where they lost in the quarterfinals.

4A-II

(1) Haven Wildcats (18-3)

Coach: Darin Ashworth

Last trip: 2015 (3A)

State Championships: 0

The Haven Wildcats put up some extremely offensive numbers this season while dominating the Central Kansas League. Katelynn Stucky and Jacy Ummel led a very potent offense that has won 18 games.  Haven has lost in the first round of Class 3A the past two years to eventual champ Silver Lake. This year Haven has moved up a class and beat Nickerson and Smoky Valley at regionals to earn the no. 1 seed in Emporia. The Haven Wildcats will face the Wildcats from Topeka-Hayden (10-12) in first round action.

(2) La Cygne-Prairie View Buffaloes (17-5)

Coach: Olevia Stone

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 0

The Prairie View Buffaloes will return to the state tournament after falling in the quarterfinals in 2015 to St. George-Rock Creek, 3-0. The Buffaloes will try to avenge that loss as they’ll be the No. 2 seed and will take on No. 7 Frontenac on Thursday at 5 p.m. in Emporia.

(3) Pratt Greenbacks (17-5)

Coach: Mike Forshee

Last trip: 2014

State Championships: 1 (4A-DII: ‘14)

The Greenbacks are happy to be back in the state tournament after missing out in 2015. Pratt, won the state title in 2014 and will be out for another championship run as the No. 3 seed. The Greenbacks will open up with No. 6 Chapman on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Emporia. Central Kansas League foes Pratt and Haven will both be playing in the 4A-II state tourney and could meet in the final.

(4) Burlington Wildcats (17-5)

Coach: Kathy Kopfman

Last trip:

State Championships: 0

The Wildcats earned the No. 4 overall seed with a perfect 17-0 record. Burlington will face No. 5 Colby in Thursday’s quarterfinal matchup slated for 7 p.m. in Emporia. Burlington advanced to the state tournament after a 13-1 win over Parsons and 7-3 victory over Garnett-Anderson County.

(5) Colby Eagles (15-5)

Coach: Jeff Krzycki

Last trip:

State Championships: 0

The Eagles won their final seven games of the year and will look to keep that winning streak alive as they’ll be the No. 5 seed and will play No. 4 Burlington in Thursday’s quarterfinal game. Colby beat Holcomb 8-4 before beating Goodland 6-5 in the regional championship game.

(6) Chapman Fighting Irish (16-6)

Coach: Erin Bell

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 0

The Fighting Irish are back in the 4A-II state tournament after tying for third place in 2015. Chapman, the No. 7 seed in 2015 knocked off No. 2 Clearwater, 3-1 and then would have played in the third place game, but was cancelled due to the weather. Chapman earned the No. 6 seed in this year’s tourney and will open up with No. 3 Pratt.

(7) Frontenac Raiders (15-7)

Coach: Cassie Rhuems

Last trip: 2014

State Championships: 0

The Raiders qualified for their first state appearance since 2014 when they lost 7-6 in 8 innings to fourth place finisher Goodland. Frontenac downed Baxter Springs, 11-2 to win the regional in Baxter Springs. The Raiders power showed off in the championship game, pumping out five home runs to propel them to the victory.

(8) Topeka Hayden Wildcats (10-12)

Coach: Justine Riner

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 3 (4A: ‘99, ‘01, ‘02)

Hayden lost to eventual champ Augusta in the 4A-I last year. This year playing in 4A-II, the Wildcats have the no. 8 seed. Don’t let that fool you. Hayden plays in the powerful Centennial League where rivals Washburn Rural (6A), Topeka Seaman (5A) and Shawnee Heights (5A) are all state-qualifiers and account for half of Hayden’s losses. This might be the best #1 vs. #8 matchup in the state.

3A

(1) Southeast of Saline Trojans (22-1)

Coach: Pesha Ptacek

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 0

The Trojans are one of the hottest teams in the state, and have won 15 straight games. They’re led by the junior pitching duo of Kaylen Lassley (.587 ERA) and Kendall Schlesener (.544 ERA) in the circle. The Trojans offense is led by all-state sophomore shortstop Karis Calahan with a .520 batting average.

(2) Riverton Rams (21-2)

Coach: Brian Mitchell

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 2 (4A: ‘09, 3A: ‘10)

The Rams have a strong tradition for successful softball teams and this year is no exception.  Riverton won the always tough CNC league in the southeast corner of the state.  They received a first round bye in the regional tournament, then defeated fellow CNC members Cherokee-Southeast 18-3 and Galena 3-0 to make the return trip to Manhattan where they lost to Hillsboro in the semi-finals last season.  

(3) Leon-Bluestem Lions (21-2)

Coach: Steve Goldring

Last trip:

State Championships: 0

The Lions traveled to Harper for the Chaparral regional as the #1 seed.  They received a first round bye, then beat Caney Valley 10-3 in the semi’s and outscored Cheney 5-4 to earn their trip to the state tourney.  Bluestem will be the #3 seed and face the Wellsville Eagles in the 7:00 game on Thursday in Manhattan.  

(4) Oskaloosa Bears (21-2)

Coach: Lisa Braun

Last trip: 2014

State Championships: 0

The Bears are state-bound after outscoring their opponents 39-0 in the three regional games they played, including wins over Atchison County, Perry-Lecompton and Royal Valley. Oskaloosa is back for the first time since 2014 when they were the No. 1 seed and were upset by No. 8 Lyons.

(5) Lyons Lions (18-4)

Coach: Marlin Clark

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 0

The Lions have been a strong team in class 3A over the past few years, making their fourth straight trip to the state tournament. Lyons beat Sterling 13-2 in the regional championship game, a matchup of two Central KS League teams. Lyons is led by seniors Laura Pineda and Morgan Michaelis, two of the seniors that have played at state all four years.

(6) Wellsville Eagles (18-5)

Coach: Chris Rose

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 0

Wellsville entered the Richmond-Central Heights regional as the third seed, but struggled with a (5-14) Osage City team, escaping with a 6-5 win in the first round played at Humboldt.  The Eagles had an easier time with the two seed in a 9-2 victory over Mound City/Jayhawk Linn/Pleasanton (19-3) and then shutout previously unbeaten #1 seed Humboldt 9-0 in the championship game to earn a trip to Manhattan.  They will take on Leon-Bluestem in the nightcap on Thursday.

(7) Council Grove Braves (17-5)

Coach: Daniel Vaughn

Last trip:

State Championships: 0

The Braves are the #7 seed and will face the second seeded Riverton Rams at 5:00 Thursday at Manhattan’s Twin Oaks Complex.  Council Grove defeated Eskridge-Mission Valley 9-4 and Marysville 4-1 before defeating Rossville in the championship game 4-2.

(8) Thomas More Prep - Marian Monarchs (17-6)

Coach: Melissa Schoepf

Last trip: 2008

State Championships: 2 (4A: ‘07, ‘08)

The Monarchs will head to Manhattan after an 11-1 convincing win in the regional championship over Southwestern Heights. TMP sophomore Bailey Lacy struck out 11 Southwestern Heights batters in the game. The Monarchs bats were also working in the regional, combining for 32 hits in the two wins over Scott City and Southwestern Heights.

2-1A

(1) Sedan Devils (22-1)

Coach: Randy Davis

Last trip:

State Championships: 0

The South Central Border League champs earned a berth to the state tournament by hammering Rosalia-Flinthills 19-2 and squeaking by Yates Center 7-6.  Both Sedan’s baseball and softball teams enter the state tournaments in Pratt with the #1 seed and identical 22-1 records.  Sedan faces Pittsburg-St. Mary’s Colgan in first round action at 5:00 Thursday.  Although Colgan is the #8 seed with a 6-17 record, the CNC league has had teams with lackluster records compete very well at state tournaments in recent years.  

(2) Udall Eagles (20-3)

Coach: Jack Kistler

Last trip: 2014

State Championships: 2 (2-1A: ‘06, ‘11)

Udall returns to state this year after winning the regional title with wins over Oxford and Burden-Central.  They will face Medicine Lodge (11-12) in the first round at 5:00 Thursday in Pratt. Udall’s streak of 14 straight South Central Border League titles came to a halt on May 2 when rival and #1 seeded Sedan Blue Devils won the nightcap to earn a split after Udall had won the first game 12-2. At opposite ends of the bracket, Udall and Sedan could possibly face each other in the title game.

(3) Ellinwood Eagles (18-3)

Coach: Jason Duvall

Last trip:

State Championships: 0

(4) Valley Falls Dragons (19-4)

Coach: Caleb Gatzemeyer

Last trip: 2011

State Championships: 0

(5) Allen-Northern Heights Wildcats (17-6)

Coach: Felicia Vaughn

Last trip:

State Championships: 0

(6) Belleville-Republic County Buffaloes (15-8)

Coach: Stephanie Baltazor

Last trip:

State Championships: 0

Audrey Sheets batting over .400 to lead the Buffalo offense while pitcher Madison Hammond averages a strikeout per inning with an ERA under 2.00.  Hammond is also the team leader in RBI’s to help herself in the circle. Belleville earned their berth with two convincing run-rule victories over Lincoln and Ellis to advance to face No. 3 seed Ellinwood (18-3).

(7) Medicine Lodge Indians (11-12)

Coach: Cheri Dohrmann

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 0

(8) Pittsburg- St. Mary’s Colgan Panthers (6-17)

Coach: Kelsey Overacker

Last trip: 2015

State Championships: 1 (2-1A: ‘10)

The Panthers finished 2-12 in the always competitive Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee Conference which has schools ranging from class 2A to 4A.  Colgan won three in a row when it really counted by defeating Moran-Marmaton Valley 12-2, St. Paul 9-1 and Oswego 8-5 in the championship game to earn a spot in Pratt where they will face the No. 1 seed Blue Devils from Sedan (22-1).

--

Predictions

Sean Boston w/ Sports in Kansas

6A: Olathe South over Rural

5A: Carroll over Seaman

4A-I: Augusta over Kc Piper

4A-II: Haven over Pratt

3A: Wellsville over SE of Saline

2-1A: Udall over Sedan

Chet Kuplen w/ Sports in Kansas

6A: Olathe Northwest over Olathe East

5A: Carroll over Seaman

4A-I: Augusta over Wellington

4A-II: Haven over Pratt

3A: Riverton over SE of Saline

2-1A: Sedan over Udall