Pete Logan
Special to The Gardner News
The Gardner-Edgerton High School softball team definitely heads into the postseason on the right note.
The Trailblazers picked up a pair of victories last Monday night at Gardner-Edgerton District Activities Center, including a Senior Night triumph, to improve their record to 10-10 as they move into Regionals this week. On Monday evening, the Blazers pounced on Shawnee Mission East and claimed a run-margin rule shortened 15-0 contest. The following night, GEHS claimed their 2nd shutout win in a row, 6-0, over Shawnee Mission Northwest.
Against the Lancers of East, the Trailblazers wasted no time in asserting their dominance. After holding the visitors scoreless in their half of the 1st inning, GEHS began their onslaught with one out in the bottom of the 1st. That’s when senior shortstop Ashlyn Anderson made it to 1st base on an infield single. Senior second baseman Gabby Schultz moved Anderson to 2nd on a single to right field, and then junior right fielder Lauren Lundy loaded the bases when she drew a walk. Freshman designated player Makenna Trout followed Lundy’s walk with one of her own, sending Anderson across the plate, and the Blazers took a 1-0 lead. Senior first baseman Amber Mott then smacked a first-pitch single to center, driving in 2 runs and making the score 3-0. Sophomore pitcher Emma Crouch made it 4-0 when her ground ball fielder’s choice scored Lundy from 3rd. Freshman center fielder Katie Thompson and junior left fielder Kailani Donham drew back-to-back walks to load the bases again. Mott then scored when freshman 3rd baseman Erin Michael took 1st after being hit by a pitch, and the Blazers held a 5-0 advantage. Anderson then came up for the 2nd time in the inning and smoked a single to right that scored 2 runs, making it 7-0. Michael then scored on a wild pitch to Schultz on the 2nd baseman’s second go round of the frame. Anderson then sprinted home during Lundy’s 2nd at bat of the 1st inning when the Schultz stole 2nd base and the Lancers unsuccessfully attempted to catch her out at 2nd. The Blazers led 9-0 after one complete frame.
Crouch then struck out 5 Lancers over the next three top half of the innings, before GEHS exploded for their second — and decisive — offensive outburst of the contest in the bottom of the 4th.
Lundy led off the Blazers with a single to right followed by a Trout single to left. Two outs later, Thompson stroked a single to center that scored a run to make it 10-0 Blazers. Donham followed with a single to center to score another run and give the Trail Blazers an 11-0 margin. Michael followed Donham’s single with one of her own, making the score 12-0 and giving GEHS runners on 1st and 3rd. An infield single by Anderson and an East throwing error put 2 runs across, making the tally 14-0. Schultz then ended the contest by belting a double to center that scored Anderson. That made the score 15-0 and gave the Blazers a win on Kansas State High School Activities Association run-margin rules.
Crouch earned the win from the circle by throwing a no-hitter over 4 innings and striking out 6. The win left the Blazers just one victory away from getting back to .500 before Kansas 6A Regional seedings came out.
On Tuesday night, the Blazers would play in their last home game which was also the last home game for varsity seniors Anderson, Mott, and Schultz. It was the 9-10 Blazers hosting the 10-9 Cougars of Northwest.
Neither team scored through the first inning-and-a-half, but the Trail Blazers jumped out ahead in the bottom of the 2nd. Trout, playing shortstop against Northwest, led off the home half of the frame with an infield single, which was followed by a Mott walk. One out later, Thompson, now playing right field, loaded the bases after being hit by a pitch. Donham then laced a single to center and plated two runs to give the Blazers a 2-0 lead. Two batters later, Anderson — a center fielder in the Northwest contest — stroked a single to left, bringing home one more run and giving GEHS a 3-0 edge after 2 complete.
The Blazers tacked on 2 more runs in the bottom of the 3rd inning. Lundy, playing as pitcher in the Northwest contest, led off the home frame by pounding a double to left field, then was replaced at 2nd by GEHS freshman courtesy runner Kaylah Newman. One out later, Mott singled to right to put runners on 1st and 3rd for the Trail Blazers. Freshman designated player then grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored Newman and Mott followed her home on a Northwest error. After 3, the Blazers were on top 5-0.
That’s the way the score remained until the bottom half of the 6th inning. Donham led off the inning with a walk, eventually got to 3rd after a Michael sacrifice, and then came around to score on a passed ball during Anderson’s at bat of the inning. After 6 innings, the Blazers led 6-0.
The Trail Blazers retired the Cougars 1-2-3 in the top half of the 7th inning, including a spectacular diving grab by Anderson, and GEHS claimed a 6-0 victory. Lundy became the 2nd GEHS pitcher in two days to throw a complete-game shutout.
After the game, Anderson, Mott, Schultz, and fellow seniors Alyssa Alena and Brenna Brungardt were all honored — along with their parents — for their contributions to the Trail Blazer softball program over the past four years.
Over the two games, Anderson paced the Trail Blazers offensively, going 6-for-8 with 4 RBIs. Donham went 3-for-4 with 3 RBIs and reached base in 5 out of 6 plate appearances, while Trout was 3-for-5 with an RBI and reached base in 5 out of 7 plate appearances. Lundy, besides getting the shutout from the circle against Northwest, was also 3-for-5 from the plate for the two games and reached base in 4 out of 6 plate appearances, and Schultz racked up 3 hits in 7 at-bats with a double and an RBI.
The Traiblazers will now head to Johnson County 3&2 West for Regionals, where they will face off against 10-8 Blue Valley Northwest at 3:00 P.M. on Tuesday.