by Tyler Scott, KCKCC sports information director
The KCKCC softball team entered the Plains District B Championship bracket as the No. 5 seed on Saturday.
Knowing they would have to win two games to make it to the championship match, the Lady Blue Devils were able to prevail by defeating No. 4 seed Johnson County Community College 11-5 before shocking No. 1 seed Highland Community College 1-0 in eight innings later that same evening.
The win over Johnson County earlier in the day also gave head coach Lana Ross her 700th career win as a head softball coach.
The Blue Devils are now 42-14 overall.
In the first game against Johnson County, the Blue Devils were the away team and came out of the gate fast.
The Cavaliers’ pitching struggled early as KCKCC was able to cash in three runs on a couple of walks from the opposing pitching staff. In the second frame, the Blue Devils got a hot bat from McKenna Lester as she hit a double to score another pair of runs – giving the Blue Devils a 5-0 lead.
Johnson County scored its first run in the third inning, but the Blue Devils continued to pile it on in the fourth frame. Lester and Lindsey Gettle each hit RBI singles, while Trinity De Tauer hit a pop fly ball that fell in to score another run. Madison Pope was later hit by a pitch and that sent another run across the plate for KCKCC.
Bradi Basler got the start in the circle and shutdown the Cavaliers through the first three innings despite allowing one run. Johnson County was able to find some life in the fourth as they cut the deficit to 9-5 at one point, but with KCKCC adding two more runs in the game, Basler settled down and didn’t allow another run the rest of the way.
Against Highland Community College neither team could find a run through the regulated seven innings. It was another strong pitching performance by Basler.
In the bottom of the eighth inning the Blue Devils were up and with a runner on second base, Kaitlyn Bradbury laid a bunt down the first base line – reaching safely just ahead of the throw. It was then runners on first and third with nobody out when Savannah Maynard hit a sacrifice fly ball to left field to score the winning run as Highland was unable to get the ball to home plate in time.
The win over Highland now puts KCKCC into the championship game with a 2-0 record in the tournament.
With forecasted bad weather on Sunday, the Blue Devils will wait to play the championship game on Monday at 2 p.m. at Lake Shawnee Softball Complex in Topeka. KCKCC will play the winner of Highland-Hesston Community College, which takes place Monday at noon.
Here’s a look at the remaining games in the District B bracket:
Lake Shawnee Softball Complex – Topeka, Kansas
May 16 – Game 5, Noon – (1) Highland (40-8) vs (21-29) (8) Hesston
May 16 – Game 6, 2 p.m. – (5) Kansas City, Kansas (42-14) vs Highland-Hesston Winner (District B Championship)
May 16 – Game 7, 4 p.m. – Game 6 (If Needed)
A District B Championship win would send the Blue Devils to the NJCAA Division II Softball Championship in Oxford, Alabama, May 24-28.