Skyhawks fly to second at state
COLBY It was a wild weekend for the 16-and-under Baldwin Skyhawks as they finished second in the A.S.A. State "B" Tournament and qualified for nationals. And, it took a two-run rally by McPherson in international tie-breaker action to keep the Skyhawks from winning the championship.
In the title game, the Skyhawks battled back from a 4-2 deficit and tied it at four through seven innings. They then punched across a run in the top of the tie-breaker inning for a 5-4 lead, only to see McPherson come up with two runs to win it 6-5.
"It really wasn't like we lost the game, it was just that they won it," said coach Ginny Honomichl. "It was just how a championship game should be. It was unbelievable."
The Skyhawks took an unbelievable route to get to the title game, too. In the game against the winner of the winner's bracket and the winner of the loser's bracket, the Hawks topped McPherson 5-1. It was the first time ever they'd beaten the Lady Express.
"They've always beaten us fairly decisive run ruled us," said Honomichl.
Not this time. Kyrstan Hubbel held the Express to the single run by striking out four and walking none. McPherson scored the lone run in the third inning for a 1-0 lead. But the Skyhawks answered with a pair of runs in the fourth, another in the fifth and added two insurance runs in the seventh for the 5-1 win. Jodie Bacon, Angie Bacon and Liz Burks all had two hits, including a triple by Burks.
That set up the title game. Baldwin scored single runs in the first and second innings for a 2-0 lead. McPherson tied it with a pair of runs in the second and then took the 4-2 lead in the third with another pair.
Baldwin tied it up again in the fourth inning with two runs, which eventually sent it into the tie breaker. Burks was the losing pitcher. The Bacons again had two hits, as did Emily Brown.
The second-place finish gave the Skyhawks an automatic bid into the first-ever "B" national tourney in Federal Way, Wash. It's set for Aug. 8-13, but it hasn't been decided whether they'll make the trip.
"The fact is they qualified for the first-ever national tournament," said Honomichl. "Whether we go or not, that's something no one can ever take away from the girls."
To reach the title game, the Skyhawks took an interesting route. They won their first two games, 15-8 over Marysville and 4-3 over Hutchinson. Those were opposite ends of the spectrum as they trailed 8-3 in the opener before exploding for 12 runs in the final inning. Then it was the one-run game over Hutch.
Hubbel won both games. Erica Ogle had three hits in the opener and two in the second. Hubbel also had two hits in the opener, including a double, and J. Bacon had a pair of hits, including a triple.
The winning string ended Sunday morning with a 6-0 loss to the Larned Renegades. That put Baldwin in the loser's bracket, where the Hawks had to win three straight to reach the championship game. They did with a 5-0 win over Salina, 6-4 win over Hutchinson and then avenged the loss to Larned with an 8-6 victory.
The two games against Larned were other examples of the strange weekend. Shutout and held to just six hits in the first game, Baldwin came back in the second contest against the same pitcher and put together 16 hits.
Brown had three hits against Salina and Ogle had two. Kayla Pringle had three hits against Hutchinson, as did Ogle and Hubbel against Larned. Brown also had a home run against Larned. Burks picked up two of the wins on the mound and Hubbel had the other.
For the tourney, J. Bacon had 16 hits and Ogle had 13. The six games Sunday were played at 9:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m., 2:50 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. One of the more amazing things was with those game and the two on Saturday, catcher Haydon Hubbel caught all 53 innings.
"Everybody played well," said Honomichl. "Everybody hit the ball well and played good defense. We also had good pitching. Erica just really hit the ball and Jodie did, too, as the lead-off hitter."
Next action for the Skyhawks will be in the Sunflower State Games in Lawrence Saturday and Sunday.
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