Skyhawk squads third in Sunflower Games
On their weekend off from regular USSSA or ASA action both Sunflower Skyhawk teams finished third in their age groups of the Sunflower State Games softball tournament.
The 16-and-under age group had eight teams and the competition consisted of pool play on Saturday and a single-elimination tournament on Sunday.
Only four teams entered the 18-and-under bracket, and they played a round robin on Saturday and a single-elimination tournament on Sunday.
"All of the games were competitive," said Ginny Honomichl, 16-and-under Skyhawk coach. "We were in a strong pool with three of the teams making the semifinals."
"We really swung the bats well on Saturday," said Bob Martin, 18-and-under Skyhawk coach. "Sunday just wasn't our day."
The 16-and-under team started play on Saturday against the Spring Hill Wildhawks. The Skyhawks took an early lead in the top of the second with a run, but the Wildhawks came back to tie the game in their half of the second. Spring Hill scored four in the third inning and one in the fourth to take a 6-1 lead. The Skyhawks came back in the fifth with four runs, but failed to score after the fifth and lost 6-5. Kyrstan Hubbel picked up the loss, allowing six runs on six hits.
In game two of pool play, the Skyhawks played the Lawrence Vipers to a 2-2 tie through three innings. In the fourth the Vipers scored three runs and went on to win the game 5-2. Kayla Pringle led the way offensively for the Skyhawks with three of the team's seven hits.
The final game of pool play was a spanking handed to the Topeka Gilberts by the Skyhawks. The Skyhawks scored 13 runs in the third inning on the way to a 20-4 victory. Jodie Bacon, Erica Ogle, Hubbel, Emily Brown and Liz Burks each had three hits for the Skyhawks. Hubbel was the winning pitcher for the Hawks.
On Sunday in the single-elimination tournament the Skyhawks scored in three of the four innings on the way to an 8-2 victory over the Bonner Springs Magic. Kari Garrison had two doubles and Brown had a triple to lead the offensive effort. Burks held the Magic to four hits on her way to picking up the win.
In the semifinals the Skyhawks faced up against the Wildhawks once again. The Skyhawks took the lead 2-1 in the third inning, but the Wildhawks battled back to take the lead 3-2 in the sixth inning. In the bottom of the seventh the Skyhawks loaded the bases with two outs, but were unable to score.
"The semifinal game was an exciting finish," said Honomichl. "It was an extremely well played game by both teams. Somebody had to win, and we came up just short."
The 16-and-under team finished with 2-3 record on the weekend.
The 18-and-under Skyhawks went through pool play easily on Saturday with three victories by an average of six runs per game.
"Saturday was probably our best hitting performance of the year," said coach Martin.
In game one the Skyhawks ignited the Kansas City TNT for seven runs in the first inning. The TNT scored two in the second but no more the rest of the game. The Hawks added one in the fifth and went on to win 8-2. Satinne Maring earned the win, allowing two hits in six innings.
The Skyhawks played the Iola Sonic Blast in their next game. The Hawks scored one in the first when Deanna Barden scored Katie Martin with a single. The Sonic Blast answered with a run in the bottom of the first. Kathy Patton scored after being hit by a pitch in the second to give the Hawks the lead. In the third the Skyhawks added three with a key two-run single by Mary Martin to give them a 6-1 lead. The Blast added two more runs but the Hawks held on to win 6-3.
The last game of pool play was a close game through the fifth, but the Skyhawks' bats opened the game up with an eight-run sixth inning against the Kansas City Quake. Barden had four hits in the game and Kristen Wessel had a bases-loaded double to lead the way offensively. Lindsay Roecker pitched all six innings and gave up two hits.
In the semifinal game on Sunday, the Skyhawks faced off against the Sonic Blast again, but unlike Saturday the Skyhawks failed to get the offense rolling. The only run scored by the Skyhawks was an inside-the-park home run by Barden when a bunt was fielded and overthrown. The Blast scored four runs in the fourth inning during a two-out rally. The game ended 6-1 in favor of the Blast, and the Skyhawks went home with a 3-1 record and third-place medals.
"We just couldn't get on track against Iola," said coach Martin. "We made a couple of key mistakes in the field and couldn't get any hits with runners on."
On Saturday and Sunday the 16-and-under Skyhawks will compete in the Mid-America "B" Championship at the Topeka, Lake Shawnee fields. The 18-and-under team will be at Adair Park in Kansas CIty playing in the Mid-America Regional.