By CONOR NICHOLL for Sports in Kansas w/ Chet Kuplen
Sports In Kansas looks at every team that has qualified for the 2021 state softball tournament. As well, SIK looks at classification favorites, darkhorses and big first-round matchups. More than half of the teams below have been featured throughout the spring on SIK.
Pairings are listed in order of first round matchups. All state competitions held Thursday and Friday. All statistics from MaxPreps/team sites and state history from KSHSAA history, unless otherwise noted.
Held at Shawnee Mission District Softball Complex
1.Topeka (22-0) – Topeka, mentioned multiple times on SIK this spring, has enjoyed Kansas’ best resume. The Trojans qualified for state in ’19, though had limited success before then. Topeka is not only trying for school history, but state history. Topeka and 5A Bishop Carroll are the lone undefeated squads in Kansas this spring. No 6A team has posted an undefeated record since Olathe Northwest posted a 25-0 mark in ’09, and Olathe East – Topeka’s quarterfinal matchup – went 25-0 in 1998, per KSHSAA results. Topeka, Lawrence Free State and Washburn Rural are certainly the favorites, but No. 8 seed Olathe East has tremendous historical success.
Topeka has three elite standouts with junior pitcher NiJaree Canady and the Caryl sisters (Zoe and Adisyn). Canady has hit 11 homers. A senior catcher, Zoe has signed with Illinois. Adisyn is the sophomore starting shortstop. Topeka went 3-0 against Manhattan, and 2-0 versus Shawnee Heights. SH has won the last three 5A state titles and qualified for state this year. Plus, Topeka swept Washburn Rural, 5-0 and 10-0, on April 13. WE is 20-0 in all other games, and SH is 18-2 in all other contests. Topeka has an average score of 12.7 to 0.9. As of mid-May, Adisyn carried a .631 average and Zoe was batting .768. In the 3-1 regional final win versus Manhattan, Canady allowed one hit against 16 strikeouts. Topeka has never won a state softball title.
8. Olathe East (10-12) – OE has won eight state titles from ’98 to ’13. Infielder Izzy Carter is a standout for OE. East qualified out of a four-team regional that had Blue Valley and Olathe West with stronger records. OE has five seniors and opened the spring 1-5, including losses to Olathe West and Gardner Edgerton by a combined 33-0 in three games. OE also later lost 7-6 to Shawnee Heights. However, OE owns a 7-6 victory versus 5A state qualifier St. Thomas Aquinas and a 6-5 win versus Olathe North, a 6A qualifier. In the regional, East beat Olathe West, 10-0, and then defeated Blue Valley, 11-6, to secure the state spot. The Sunflower League is consistently Kansas’ best softball conference and has four teams in the state tournament with Gardner-Edgerton, Olathe East, Olathe North and O. South. East split with Olathe South on May 11.
4. Garden City (19-3) – Garden City has enjoyed great success with Trina Moquett, who is 134-40 with the Buffs. GC has recently took third in ’17 and qualified for state in ’16. In the regional final, the Buffs edged Wichita Northwest, 14-12. In the Buffs’ most recent statistical release, sophomore Brie Manwarren carries a .453 average with 10 doubles, three triples and a homer. Senior Rilee McGraw carried a .415 average with five homers. However, the Buffs carried a .366 average with 13 homers. Manwarren has delivered a big season with a 2.64 earned-run average with a 178/38 strikeout to walk ratio in 111.1 innings. Senior Gisselle Gutierrez has a 25/3 strikeout to walk ratio in 20 innings.
5. Gardner-Edgerton (16-4) – G-E is on the verge for the best season in school history. Since 2000, the Trailblazers have made one state appearance with a quarterfinal loss to Olathe Northwest in ’16. In the regionals, Angelina Gear threw a one-hit shutout in a 14-0 win versus Blue Valley North. She struck out eight and Erin Michael, Kaylah Newman, Ellie Garrie, Lauryn Karr and Harley Pruetting all had at least two hits. Karr homered to break G-E’s team home run record, and Pruetting has the school’s individual single season RBI mark. G-E defeated Blue Valley West, 8-3, behind five innings from Pruetting. G-E qualified both baseball and softball to state.
2. Lawrence Free State (19-1) – Free State will face Olathe South in a rematch from earlier in the year. FS defeated OS, 9-0, on April 6. Free State is the two-time defending state champions and has its bevy of Division I players with Tatum Clopton, Sara Roszak and Georgia Rea. They have signed with Oklahoma State, Kansas and Western Illinois, respectively. Clopton is the reigning Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year. Tatum’s sister, Kinsey, is a nationally ranked freshman. Tatum Clopton stands at 12-1 this spring. In ’19, Free State lost to Washburn Rural in the regular season and then beat WR, 1-0, in the state title game. Free State won its three state games by a combined score of 8-0. This year, FS has an average score of 12.4-1.7. In regional, Free State rolled over Wichita Heights, 17-0, and held off traditional power, Derby, 6-5 with a three-run walk-off homer from Roszak. Derby led 5-3 in the sixth. Charley Bowen is serving as FS’ acting head coach. Longtime coach Lee Ice coached Free State to both state titles, though is on administrative leave, per the Lawrence Journal-World.
7. Olathe South (15-6) – Olathe South defeated Shawnee Mission North, 11-1, in the regional final. Junior Jadyn Sheffield has committed to Central Missouri. Other key players are Ashtyn Grissom, Taryn Hull and junior left-handed pitcher Sarah Proberts. OS was down 1-0 early to SMN, but Hull hit a two-run homer. Hull is also a strong defensive catcher. OS had defeated SM Northwest, 5-0, on April 29. South has losses against Free State, Gardner-Edgerton (5-4), Washburn Rural (7-0) and Olathe North (12-10), all state qualifiers. South has state titles in ’90, ’15 and ’16, per KSHSAA archives. South did not qualify in ’19, though lost in the quarterfinals in ’18.
3. Washburn Rural (20-2) – Washburn Rural, the defending state runner-up, has championships in ’95, ’08 and ’15. Rural is 0-2 versus Topeka and is the lone squad to defeat Lawrence Free State. Rural has Olivia Bruno, who has signed with Kansas. Rural has averaged 10.9 runs per game and allowed 1.55 runs a contest. In ’18, Rural took third with a 1-0 win versus Olathe North. Coach Tricia Vogel was a former standout at Clearwater and played at Emporia State. Bruno is a multi-faceted player, who can pitch and play the corner infield positions. She was on the preseason All-American watch list. As of May 10, Bruno was hitting .569 with nine homers, along with an 8-1 record in the circle. Bruno has played for WR varsity since she was a freshman.
6. Olathe North (16-6) – Olathe North has two state softball championships, both in all classes in ’84 and ’89. ON was a final four team in 2019. ON opened the season 12-2 before a 4-4 finish. North went 2-0 versus St. Thomas Aquinas, 0-1 versus Gardner-Edgerton, 1-0 versus Olathe South, 0-1 against Olathe East and 0-1 versus Lawrence Free State. In the regionals, Olathe North defeated Lawrence, 5-3, and then beat Olathe Northwest, 12-5, in the regional final. Jordan Reynolds, Mia Williams, and Mel Hipshers are the leading pitchers, and Bailey Dillon has hit leadoff. Rilee Irby, Lauren Roberts, Celeste Smith, Hailey Conley, catcher Allie Stipsits, Sophie Stout, Paige Martin, Olivia Kyes and Skylar Valdez are all key players on a squad with eight seniors, many highly accomplished. Stipsits, Roberts, Smith and Kyes have all signed for college softball. Roberts won the KSHSAA Citizenship Award. Valdez is headed to Baker University to bowl, and Martin won a prestigious Life of Purpose scholarship through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.
Held at Wichita State University – Wilkins Stadium
1.Bishop Carroll (20-0) – BC and Spring Hill are the 5A state favorites in a close competition. Bishop Carroll has won 14 all-time titles, including ’11-15, the last two with 25-0 records. Before then, BC last won in ’04. BC beat Andover Central, 10-0, and Salina South, 8-1, in regionals. The Golden Eagles have an average score of 12.5-0.95. The Golden Eagles have four close games: 4-2 versus Wichita Norhwest, 4-2 versus Kapaun Mt. Carmel, 5-2 against Goddard and 3-1 versus Goddard-Eisenhower. In BC’s latest statistical release, junior Kiley Brewster has a .655 average with 12 doubles and four homers. Junior Meredith Robinson has a .636 mark with three triples. Senior Gabby Eck has a .585 average with 12 doubles. Junior Kendall Forbes has a .583 average and junior Kaylee Back is at .553. Coach Steve Harshberger is 155-9 in seven years with Carroll and has been in the state championship game in five of those seasons.
8. St. Thomas Aquinas (10-12) – Aquinas had back-to-back upsets in the regional with a 13-0 win versus Blue Valley Southwest and 16-1 against Topeka Seaman. BVSW and Seaman was a combined 31-9 entering regionals. Aquinas has scored nine runs a game and permitted six. Aquinas finished 10-11 in ’19. Veteran coach Keith Hughes took over Aquinas this year.
4. Goddard-Eisenhower (18-4) – Eisenhower beat Topeka West, 15-0, and defeated Newton, 5-3, at regionals. Eisenhower has tallied 8.4 runs a game and permitted 2.8. Eisenhower, Andover and Goddard all went 9-3 and tied for AVCTL Division II softball crown. Eisenhower also won league in ’12 and has qualified for state three times: ’12, ’18 and this year. In ’18, Eisenhower lost to Bishop Carroll, 16-2, in the quarterfinals. Eisenhower has three seniors: Grace Sykora, Allyson Montgomery and Megan Waggoner. Sykora has signed with Hutchinson Community College, and Montgomery has signed with Butler County CC. Eisenhower finished 15-7 in ’19 and returned four starters, including Montgomery.
5. Shawnee Heights (18-4) – Shawnee Heights has won three straight 5A state titles. SH is 18-2 since two season-opening losses to currently undefeated Topeka. At regionals, SH beat Lansing, 14-4, and De Soto, 15-0. Coach Tara Griffith is 65-5 with Shawnee Heights. Senior Ady Burghart and junior Abby Schulte were the lone returning starters back from 2019. Burghart has committed to Fort Hays softball. Overall, SH has five seniors. In addition to Burghart, Taylor Hawkins has signed with Pittsburg State volleyball, and Claire Olson with Fort Hays volleyball.
2. Spring Hill (21-1) – Spring Hill rolled through its regional with a 11-1 win versus K.C. Turner and a 10-0 victory against Leavenworth. Spring Hill has won titles in ’04, ’16 and ’17 and has taken at least three losses in every season. SH has first-year coach Corey Katzer. SH is arguably the state’s best team in regards to pitching and defense. Spring Hill carries a .383 average, along with an 0.82 earned-run average and a .981 fielding percentage. SH has five seniors. Junior Maggie McNally has a .484 batting average, and senior Julia Hess has a .442 average. Junior Malia January posted a .422 average and seven homers. SH has struck out just 63 times this season. Junior Vanessa Murray is 7-0 with a 0.84 ERA in 58.1 innings with 93 strikeouts against nine walks. McNally, in strong position for 5A Player of the Year, has a 4-1 mark with 0.86 ERA with 88 strikeouts and 21 walks in 49 innings. Spring Hill’s only loss was a split against Ottawa with a 5-4 loss and 10-0 win on May 11.
7. Goddard (16-6) – Conference foes Goddard and Andover were expected to match up again in regional. Goddard defeated Andover, 3-1. The Lions have most recently qualified in ’16, ’18 and ’19, including a final four team two years ago.
3. Basehor-Linwood (19-3) – At regionals, Basehor-Linwood beat St. James Academy, 14-4, and Bonner Springs, 5-2. B-L is at state for the first time since 2010. In the United Kansas Conference, Shawnee Heights was first at 9-1, and Basehor-Linwood finished second at 8-2. B-L averaged 12.4 runs a game in league play. B-L captured state softball in 2010. Coach Susan Mayberry is in her 24th year as head coach. The program went 14-8 in 2019. B-L returned five starters.
6. Valley Center (17-5) – VC took third in ’17 after a state quarterfinal loss in ’16. Emma Anderson is VC’s key pitcher, and Ashley Thorne, Reagan Fischer, and Eliza Grady are among the top players. Valley Center has four seniors: Fischer, Thorne, Emma Meyer and Taylor Rowley. Thorne is playing college softball at Missouri-Kansas City, and Rowley is headed to Seminole State softball.
Held at Bill Burke Complex – Salina
1.Holton (21-1) – When considering resume, dominance and star power, Holton is right up there for Kansas’ top teams. The Wildcats are the 4A favorite, but it’s close between them, Andale/Garden Plain and Clay Center, which features elite pitcher Clara Edwards, a South Dakota signee. Overall, Holton has a .489 batting average, .538 on-base percentage, 32 homers, 2.05 team earned-run average and a .968 fielding percentage. Junior Sadie Walker has a .659 average with nine homers and 48 RBI, all team bests. Sophomore Brooke Flewelling carries a .597 average with eight homers and 34 RBI. Junior Staci Bond has a .574 average, and junior Gracie Gallagher carries a .541 average with 40 RBI. In the circle, Walker is 11-0 with a 1.62 earned-run average, including a perfect game. Junior Gracie Gallagher has a 9-1 mark and 1.91 ERA with 102 strikeouts against just two walks. Holton has multiple wins versus Kansas City area schools. Impressively, Holton graduated a large seven-member senior class from the 2020 COVID year that likely would have contended for the state title. Holton has won at least 19 games in the last three softball seasons. Holton was a final four state team in ’18 and ’19, though has never won a state softball title. Longtime coach John Deitrich captured 4A crowns in ’95 and ’96 with Carbondale. Holton, with just one senior, captured its two regional games by a combined score of 28-0.
8.Winfield (14-8) – In an upset, Winfield defeated Clearwater, 4-3, in the regional final. Clearwater finished 16-6. Winfield split with Clearwater to open the season with a 15-11 victory and an 11-1 loss. Winfield went 0-4 against Andale/Garden Plain and Augusta, though finished the spring 5-1.
4. Andale/Garden Plain (19-3) – A/GP, a longtime powerhouse, defeated Circle, 14-11, to advance to state. A/GP has won state titles in ’08, ’10, ’11, and ’12. Kyla Eck has signed with Division I University of the Pacific.
5. Eudora (18-4) – Eudora captured 13-3 and 11-1 victories in the regional. Eudora went 15-6 in 2019.
2. Clay Center/Wakefield (20-2) – Senior pitcher Clara Edwards is on the short list for the state’s best player for all classes. Edwards helped CC roll through regionals with 15-0 and 11-1 victories. CC has won one state title, a 4A crown in 1997. Clay Center took third in ’19. Clay Center has just five total losses in the last three years combined. Edwards has hit 15 homers, per broadcaster Rocky Downing.
7. Pratt (17-5) – Pratt held off Augusta, 2-0, in the regional final. Augusta had defeated Andale/Garden Plain in the 4A state championship two years ago. Pratt captured its lone crown in Class 4A, Division II. Kami Theis is a key multi-year pitcher for the Greenbacks. Pratt finished 15-4 in ’19.
3. Bishop Miege (19-3) – Miege beat Coffeyville, 12-0, and defeated Paola, 6-4, to advance to state. The Stags have one state crown, in ’02, and qualified for state for the first time since ‘02. Miege infielder Jada Gilliand and catcher Adrianna Smith were first team all-league, while infielder Annika Smith was second team. Jenna Dorsett, Katie Kolarik, Grace Rodlund and Cameron Soldner were all honorable mention picks. Gilliland, a freshman, has enjoyed a massive season, including homers in both regional contests. She has double-digit homers and has the Miege record for most homers in a single season. Miege has made a huge improvement after a 4-17 season in ’19.
6. Wamego (17-5) – Wamego and Ottawa both had 15-5 records entering regional, but the Red Raiders won 13-3 in the regional final. Wamego has multiple standouts, including seniors: third baseman/outfielder Alexis Billings, Toree Hoobler, Harlie Oviatt and Haley Asbury. Wamego last made state in ’17. The Red Raiders split with Silver Lake. Sophomore Maya Gallagher is the team’s leading hitter and is a nationally ranked player for her class.
Held at Manhattan – Twin Oaks Complex
1.Cheney (22-1) – This should be an outstanding state tournament and is maybe the hardest to call. Cheney, Haven, Silver Lake and Frontenac are the probable favorites, though all eight teams, including freshman-laden Holcomb, could win. Even No. 8 seeded Rock Creek has showed impressive power with junior Grace Gehl tying the single season school record for homers (seven) and the school single season RBI record (35). Silver Lake/Frontenac, a rematch of the ’19 state title game, is likely the premier quarterfinal matchup for all classes.
Cheney is a combined 75-5 in volleyball, girls’ basketball and softball this season. The Cardinals qualified for state volleyball and delivered an undefeated Class 3A basketball season. Many of the same girls are key in all three sports, led by senior pitcher Korri Lies, senior Kylee Scheer and senior Lexi Cline, along with Elina Bartlett, Brooklyn Wewe and Halley Jones. Lies, 12-0 this season, is among the state’s best pitchers and threw a great game in a quarterfinal loss to eventual champion Frontenac in the ’19 state tournament. Scheer was Miss Kansas Basketball this winter and is headed to Emporia State basketball. Cheney has never won a state softball title. The only loss was an 8-6 defeat to Belle Plaine on April 22. The Cardinals held off a 17-win Kingman/Norwich team, 5-2, in the regional final. Cheney trailed 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth before the Cardinals scored two in the bottom, two in the fifth and one in the sixth.
8. Rock Creek (15-8) – Rock Creek, who put together an impressive volleyball and softball season with many of the same girls, was the third seed in its regional. However, it defeated nine-win Hiawatha, 15-0, and then beat 14-win Nemaha Central, 7-0, in the semifinals. In the championship game, Rock Creek held off 17-win Rossville, 4-2. In addition to Grace Gehl, Jenna Weers hit three homers in a doubleheader in early May. Junior Sophia Haverkamp, who has been timed at 61 miles per hour, has struck out more than 100 batters. She has broken the school single season strikeout record. Haverkamp struck out 14 versus Clay Center.
4.Holcomb (20-3) – One of the season’s biggest surprises, Holcomb has ridden its freshmen, especially pitcher Korryn Johnson, to a big win against rival Scott City in the regional final. Holcomb played three wild regional games with a 12-9 win versus Goodland, a 16-15 victory in 10 innings versus Colby and then a 6-5 victory versus Scott City. Holcomb has not lost since April 8 and has won 18 straight games. Holcomb fell to SC, 10-3 and 4-3, on April 6. Holcomb has its best record since the GWAC formed in 2010-11. Holcomb starts freshmen at pitcher, catcher, shortstop, second base and left field with Johnson, Rian Rodriguez, Emma Cornelsen, Emily Dryden and Brooklyn Deniston, respectively. Senior Blair Holliday starts at first base. Three juniors start: Ryleigh McVey, centerfielder Bella Lopez, and right fielder Kyrah Lozano.
5. Hoisington/Central Plains (19-4) – In a regional just a few miles away played at Barton County Community College, Barton County’s Hoisington/CP qualified out of a tough regional where the top-six teams were all at least .500. The Cardinals beat Larned, 15-0, and then defeated Beloit, 1-0, in extra innings in the regional semifinals. In the championship game, H/CP held off Russell/Victoria, 5-1. Highly acclaimed junior Kassidy Nixon is a top player. Nixon, who attends Central Plains, has won five state titles in volleyball and basketball and is the reigning 1A Volleyball Player of the Year. Hoisington/Central Plains split with Haven on May 4 with a 6-3 win and 13-5 loss. Nixon had several excellent pitching performances, including a no-hitter versus Larned, a one-hitter against Nickerson and a 12-strikeout, two-hitter versus Halstead.
2. Haven (21-2) – A longtime power under coach Darin Ashworth, Haven has come close to softball titles on several occasions. Haven features senior Maguire Estill, a Division II Arkansas-Monticello signing and among Kansas’ top players. Known for offense, Haven scored 35 runs in the three regional games, including a championship versus 15-win Smoky Valley. Haven split with Kingman/Norwich and Hoisington/Central Plains. Haven has qualified in ’18, ’17, ’16 with third place, second place and second place at state. Haven softball reached 400 career wins at regional, according to Hutchinson News. Haven has five highly experienced seniors, including Estill and Brooke Brawner. Haven has qualified for state six of the last seven years. Lexi Smith hit a key homer against Smoky Valley.
7. Prairie View (19-4) – In a wide-open regional where all eight teams finished at least 10-10, PV won a pair of close games to advance to state. PV is the lone squad to beat 2-1A Jayhawk-Linn this year with a win in the regular season finale. PV beat Wellsville, 4-3, and then knocked off Council Grove, 11-1, in six innings. In the championship, Prairie View defeated Anderson County, 8-6. PV has most recently qualified in ’17 and ’16, including a final four run in ’17. Junior Braxton Stainbrook is a key player for the Pioneer League champions. Junior Julia Paisley worked a three-inning perfect game in a 17-0 win versus Olpe. Riley Boone is also one of the top players in 3A for the Buffaloes.
3. Silver Lake (20-3) – By state titles, Silver Lake and Bishop Carroll are Kansas’ premier softball programs. In the semifinals, SL narrowly defeated Santa Fe Trail, 11-10. In the championship, SL beat Oskaloosa, 11-6. Oskaloosa finished 18-5, though 0-3 versus Silver Lake. SL has 13 state titles, the last coming two years ago. Ellington Hogle has signed with Washburn softball. Hogle has hit .549. Freshman pitcher Avery Wende is the team’s ace.
6. Frontenac (19-4) – Frontenac is the defending 3A state champion. The Raiders hosted its own regional and advanced through a challenging bracket full of CNC teams. Frontenac beat Riverton (5-3), held off Girard (3-2), and defeated Galena (12-0). Alumna Cassie Rhuems won a ’16 crown with an 18-7 record and a 20-6 season in ’19. Junior Heather Arnett is a talented three-sport all-state athlete and one of the best softball players in the state. Kaitlyn Hayslip and Mia Brown both hit homers versus Riverton. Hattie Pyle also had a monster regional for the Raiders with 6 RBI in the championship win over Galena.. The Raiders feature just two upperclassmen in senior Raven Warren and junior Heather Arnett, the only two that were starters on the last team to win. Seven of the Raiders starters are freshman or sophomore. Freshman Annie Lee and Abi Beaman have been huge for the Raiders this season. A sophomore, Brown has overcome a significant injury and has a metal rod in her leg. Brown has enjoyed a great two-way season.
Pratt-Green Sports Complex
1.Jayhawk-Linn (22-1) – The 1/8 matchup holds plenty of intrigue. While Jayhawk-Linn was a final four team two years ago and Belle Plaine has limited softball historical success, BP has played a significantly harder schedule. Belle Plaine is the lone team to beat Cheney in girls’ basketball or softball. While defending champion Pittsburg-Colgan is the favorite, there are a lot of contenders. Notably, BP, Marion, Mission Valley and Burlingame are achieving historical success for their programs with a lot of newer teams in the field. Jayhawk-Linn’s closest regional game came in a 5-4 semifinal victory versus Lyndon. Jenna Holt and Emilie Nation are among key returners. Coach Kris Holt is 88-20. Jenna Holt, who achieved great success in three sports and livestock judging, was a Kansas Governor’s Scholar.
8. Belle Plaine (19-4) – BP was the second seed in its regional, though certainly had the hardest strength of schedule among the contenders. The Dragons defeated top-seeded Cedar Vale-Dexter, 8-5, in the regional final. Freshman Delaynie Esterly has a .479 average, and freshman Gabby Lujan has a .437 mark. Sophomore Josie Walker has a .437 average with 15 doubles. Junior Tory Talbot has a .415 average, and senior Cheyenne Cooper has a .394 average with nine doubles and two homers. Belle Plaine is the lone squad to beat Cheney. Senior Tori Lujan, junior Tory Talbot and freshman Maddy Talbot have shared time in the circle. Belle Plaine was 31-45 in the first five years under coach Brian Seba.
4. Marion (21-2) – Marion tallied 39 runs in its three regional games and has enjoyed a banner year. That included a nine-run first inning in the regional final versus Moundridge. Marion has outscored teams, 318-97, and has won eight straight contests. The Warriors lost, 13-5, to Council Grove in the season opener and split with Sedgwick on May 4, including a 10-8 loss. Marion has a collective .459 average and a .565 on-base percentage with 94 stolen bases. Junior Jayden May has a .605 average with nine doubles, six triples and four homers. Senior Megan Neufeld has a .587 average, and junior Mickelly Soyez carries a .534 average. Senior Laura Savage has a .525 average with four homers. Neufield has stolen 30 bases, and May has 24 steals. Senior Chisholm Waner is 11-2 with a 2.89 ERA with four shutouts, and freshman Natalie Sigel is 8-0 with a 3.59 ERA, including two no-hitters.
5. Burlingame (20-3) – Third-seeded Burlingame, an experienced team, came out of a regional that had three squads that finished the regular season at 17-3. In a game played at Andover Central, Burlingame beat longtime power Chase County, 4-2, in the championship. Burlingame qualified in the ’19 state tournament, though lost to Oskaloosa in the first round. Burlingame, with coach Creighton Winters, has plenty of experience with Graci Masters, Alexandra Crook, Megan Griffin and Daelyn Winters.
2. Spearville (22-1) – Featured last week on SIK, Spearville avenged its lone loss this season with a 3-2 win against Bucklin/South Central in the regional final. Spearville qualified in ’19 and finished second in ’10. Softball has 10 losses the last three years. On April 6, Spearville split with Bucklin. Seniors Addia Nau, Elle Weber and Stephanie Miller are top players, along with junior Reneau Ratzlaff and sophomores Kara Brakey and Tessa Kuker. The Lancers have won 17 straight games. Nau, Miller, Weber and Stout are all hitting well above .400. Coach David Friess is 59-19 with the Lancers.
7. Pittsburg-Colgan (19-3) – A dominant team, the Panthers won its three regional contests by a combined score of 29-0. Colgan’s two titles came in ’10 and ’19. Colgan features senior pitcher Kaitlin Crossland, the 2019 2-1A Player of the Year, and junior twins Ashley (CF) and Allie Marietta (C), all three who earned all-state honors and are amongst the top in all of Kansas. All-state volleyball player Millie Stockard has also stepped up big as the DP for Colgan this season and has came up with some big hits. Grace Wixson has also made some big plays on the infield this season at shortstop for the Panthers. Lauren Yaghmour is also coming back from an ankle injury at second base and brings an element of speed to the Colgan offense. Emma Brill has also stepped in big at first base this season for SMC. Colgan finished 24-2 two years ago in the first season under coach Annie Dellasega. Panthers play in one of the best leagues in the state - CNC - which they split with 3A defending champ Frontenac.
3. Mission Valley (22-1) – Mission Valley has won 21 straight games. MV dispatched Atchison County (14-3), McLouth (6-4) and Troy (11-0) to qualify for state. MV captured a state title in ’03 with a 23-2 mark. Overall, MV has a .411 batting average, 15 homers and a 1.42 earned-run average. Junior Jaycie Calvaruzo has a .522 average with 17 doubles and five homers. Senior Megan Deters has a .521 average. Senior Mac Murray has a .500 mark. Senior Angela Akerstrom has a .453 average with nine doubles. Sophomore Morgan Tomlinson has a .439 average with 12 doubles and two homers. Tomlinson has 12 wins with a 0.97 ERA, and Akerstrom has nine victories with a 2.35 ERA.
6. Brookville-Ell Saline (20-3) – Ell-Saline, led by Kris Bell, captured its three regional games, 20-3, 8-2 and 8-2, including the last one versus rival Sacred Heart. Ace pitcher Raleigh Kramer has cleared 110 strikeouts this season, including 14 combined strikeouts in the two regional wins. E-S is at state for the first time since ’15. Ell-Saline split with Sedgwick on April 1 and was swept versus Marion on April 30.
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