Hawks fall to seventh
IOLA The 18-and-under Sunflower Skyhawks went into this past weekend's A.S.A. State Softball Tournament here with a chance to bring home their second state championship of the summer. With a tough first-round loss, the Skyhawks had to battle through the losers bracket and came up short in the quarterfinals with a seventh-place finish.
"I was very pleased with our effort this weekend," said coach Bob Martin. "We lost a tough a game to Flint Hills in the opener, but the girls did a great job fighting back through the loser's bracket."
In the first game against the Flint Hills Wind the Skyhawks trailed early 1-0 through the first three innings. In the fourth they rallied for two runs when Deanna Barden bunted to reach first, stole second and then scored on a single by Kristen Wessel. Satinne Maring then sent Wessel home with a sacrifice fly, giving the Skyhawks the 2-1 lead.
In their last at bat in the seventh the Wind tied the game, and then in the eighth they scored three runs to go up 5-2.
The Skyhawks battled back in the bottom of the eighth with a two-out rally. Suzie Weege singled to score Mary Martin and Tarin Troth. Weege advanced to third as the tying run, but Katie Martin popped out to end the game.
Into the loser's bracket fell the Skyhawks, and their first game was against a tough Augusta Wildcats team, which was composed primarily of players who had helped capture the Class 4A State Softball Championship for Augusta in the spring.
In the second inning Barden tied the game with a bunt single, a stolen base and then a crossing of the plate on a Mary Martin hit.
With the score still tied in the sixth, the Skyhawks manufactured a run with a sacrifice bunt from Maring and a sac fly from Wessel to score K. Martin.
The Skyhawks were unable to hold onto the lead as they gave up a run in the bottom of the sixth. The result was that the Hawks went into extra innings for the second time in as many games.
In the top of the eighth Weege singled to score Ashley Wylie to give the Skyhawks the lead.
Maring sat down the Wildcats in order in the bottom of the eighth to earn the victory, and to keep the Hawks alive in the tournament.
"The victory over Augusta was one of our best of the year," said coach Martin. "To win in extra innings over a talented team, especially after losing the Flint Hills game, was a real credit to the girls."
In game three of the tournament against the Wichita Krush, the Skyhawks blew the game open in the first inning with four runs. Maring led the way in the inning with an RBI double and a run scored.
The Krush scored runs in the first, second and fifth innings, but were unable to recover from the four-run first by the Hawks, who moved on in the tournament with a 5-3 victory.
The Skyhawk's bid for a second state championship came to an end in the fourth game against the Wichita Mirage. The Mirage scored two runs in both the first and sixth innings. The Skyhawks had runners on base in every inning, but were unable to get the key hits that they needed to win the game. The game ended with the Skyhawks losing 4-1.
Satinne Maring pitched all 29 innings of the tournament for the Skyhawks. She gave up five earned runs while striking out 18 and finished with a 2-2 record for the tournament.
Both M. Martin and K. Martin led the way offensively with six hits in the tournament, while Weege added five hits.
By placing seventh the team qualified for the A.S.A. Mid-America regional tournament in Kansas City July 28-30.
"Our goal this weekend was to qualify for the Mid-America Regional in two weeks and we were able to put ourselves in position to do that," said coach Martin. "We would have liked to place a little higher, but it was still a successful weekend."
This weekend the Skyhawks will play closer to home when they compete in the Sunflower State Games in Lawrence Saturday and Sunday.