The Bonner Springs and Piper high school softball teams competed in the KSHSAA 5A regional tournament on Wednesday afternoon at Basehor-Linwood high school. The host Lady Bobcats won the tournament and will advance as one of eight teams to the state tournament.
Basehor-Linwood defeated St. James Academy 14-4 in the first semi-final game of the afternoon.
Bonner Springs and Piper matched up in the second semi-final, which was delayed in the first inning for a brief but intense rain shower.
Bonner Springs got on the board first in the bottom of the 1st inning with a double by Teelie Super bringing home Carley Billings. Piper answered back in the top of the 2nd with Kaia Cordill’s double to left bringing in Gabrielle Salazar.
The Lady Pirates went ahead 3-1 in the top of the 3rd with doubles from Kaitlyn Bradbury and Shalom Searcy. The Lady Braves responded with 2 runs of their own in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at 3.
In the top of the 4th, Piper scored 3 to go up 6-3, with runs batted in from Grace Rome, Sage Grann and Bradbury. Once again Bonner Springs answered back in the bottom of the inning, scoring runs from Meghan Billings, Autumn Ashford and Carley Billings. A tag at the plate by Piper catcher Bradbury ended the inning with the scored tied at 6.
Lady Braves reliever Carley Billings notched 4 strikeouts in the 5th and 6th innings to cool the Piper offense.
In the bottom of the 6th, Bonner Springs put up 4 runs for a 10-6 lead. A series of singles kept the Lady Braves line moving, and earned them the victory. Piper’s comeback attempt in the top of the 7th fell short, but earned them a run on Searcy’s 2nd RBI of the game.
The regional championship followed immediately the semi-final contest, so the Lady Braves had little time to catch their breath.
Starting pitcher Carley Billings held Basehor scoreless through four innings, working out of trouble in most of them, while the Bonner Springs offense had trouble finding traction against Lady Bobcats pitcher Taylor Cruse. In the bottom of the 5th, a double, followed by a misplayed bunt, opened the floodgates for Basehor, which put up 5 runs in the inning.
Bonner Springs got on the board in the 6th and 7th, but as dusk closed in on the field, the final margin stood at 5-2.
Both teams have a bright future next year. Coach Rachel Milnark will have all her starters returning, except senior Kaitlyn Bradbury. Bonner Springs head coach David Blazevic is in a similar spot, returning all his starters except senior Emily Ashford.
Ashford and Bradbury will switch from opponents to teammates next season, both committed to play for the KCKCC Lady Blue Devils.
The Bonner Springs Lady Braves celebrated their soccer seniors Tuesday evening. The warm glow of affection from their teammates was dimmed just slightly by a 6-1 defeat from the Piper Lady Pirates.
Other than the halftime ceremony, the Lady Pirates controlled most of the proceedings on the field. Piper’s speed up front gave them an advantage in playing over the top, and they ran out to a 4-0 halftime lead.
Bonner’s speedy striker Jenna Knight attracted multiple defenders when she got into an attacking space, but finally broke through with a second-half goal to get the Lady Braves on the board.
Piper’s over-anxious forwards got pulled back for offsides several times early in the second half, slowing their attack. Lady Braves goalkeeper Alex Rivers also recorded some timely saves to limit Piper to 2 goals in the half.
Piper’s Morgan Parker scored 2 goals in the match, the first of her varsity career. Brylie Reece also opened her scoring account with a first-half goal. Ryann Clark added two goals, and Sierra Montez one in the first half. Samantha Trumbo earned two assists.
Piper’s record improves to 11-3. They’re currently ranked fourth in the 5A East Region schools. The Pirates will play at Eudora on Thursday in their last regular season game. Bonner Springs finishes its regular season at 6-10. Both teams will be getting ready for the regional playoffs starting May 17.