Just because two teams are guaranteed a trip to the state playoffs doesn’t mean that emotions won’t run high – especially among the fans.
That was the case when the Shadle Park Highlanders faced the Kamiakin Braves Saturday at University High in the 3A regional softball tournament. The undefeated Braves won the game 8-2 to get the No. 1 seed to state. The Highlanders get the second seed.
The seeds are a bit immaterial, however, because state qualifiers are placed in brackets off a blind draw, according to U-Hi’s Ken VanSickle, vice principal-activities. The Titans earned the No. 3 seed to state with a 10-0 trouncing of the Southridge Suns.
As for the marquee game of the day between the Highlanders and Braves, the game featured a fan ejection, a player batting out of order and another batter touring the bases on a mere sacrifice bunt.
In the game, the home-plate umpire ejected a Highlanders fan from the crowd for what he believed was the man’s excessive chatter just to the right of home plate. The umpire appeared ready to remove Highlanders coach Guy Perham but eventually relented.
Before that, Shadle’s Ashley Collins launched a solo homer to left field in the third inning, accounting for the team’s first run. In the second inning, Collins inadvertently batted out of order, a miscue that Perham squarely put on his shoulders.
In the Braves’ half of the second inning, they scored three runs. highlighted by a sacrifice bunt by Sam Booth, which saw her reach first base on a fielder’s choice. Booth proceeded to round first without a defender from Shadle covering second. An errant throw into center field allowed her to score.
The Highlanders automatically advanced to the state playoffs by defeating the Southridge Sun with a resounding 11-0 win that concluded after five innings.
“I’m so proud of this team,” Perham said. “They just keep coming back and coming back. They never give up.”
Shadle capitalized on routine and repeated fielding errors committed by the Suns throughout the game, their first of the day.
The Highlanders broke that game open in the second inning with three runs to take a 5-0 lead. Shadle sent seven batters to the plate that inning, though only one batter drove the ball beyond the infield.
Shadle scored three more in the third inning, sending eight batters to the plate with only two batters sending the ball beyond the infield. Another three runs plated in the fourth with eight batters going to the plate and not one ball going beyond the infield.
Senior pitcher Kaycee Perisho dominated the Suns, striking out nine and only allowing two hits. Southridge could only muster four base runners for the game.