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Hoisington/Central Plains reaches first state tourney in 6 years

Hoisington/Central Plains topped Russell/Victoria 5-1 Wednesday to reach the 3A state softball...
Hoisington/Central Plains topped Russell/Victoria 5-1 Wednesday to reach the 3A state softball tourney(Joey Bahr)
Published: May. 20, 2021 at 11:11 AM CDT
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GREAT BEND, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - The Hoisington-Central Plains Lady Cardinals won the Larned 3A Softball Regional 5 to 1 over the Russell-Victoria Lady Broncos Wednesday.

The semifinals and championship game for the Regional were moved from the natural surface of Ralph Terry Field in Larned to the turf of Cougar Field on the campus of Barton Community College.  The venue change came from the threat of rain for Wednesday afternoon and evening.

Russell-Victoria advanced to the championship game with a 13-0 run-rule win over Ellsworth.

Hoisington-Central Plains advanced with a walk-off double in the bottom of the tenth inning to win 1-0 over Beloit.  Both pitchers in the semifinal game combined for 32 strikeouts.

Hoisington started the game off quickly with their first batter, Gracie Alyward, singling to right field.  The next batter, Keeley Wolf, laid down a sacrifice bunt.  The Russell first baseman tried to throw to second to hold Alyward.  The throw was off the mark.   Alyward quickly rounded third and headed home to give her team an early 1-0 lead.

Kassidy Nixon took to the mound again for Hoisington after pitching all ten innings in the previous game.  She retired the side with three strikeouts in the bottom of the first.

The Cardinals scored again in the top of the second inning.  Mollie Steiner batted in Kortney Lang from third with a single.  At the end of the second inning, Hoisington led 2-0.

Nixon started the bottom of the second by allowing a base on balls.  She then retired the next three batters with a swinging strikeout, throw out to first, and another swinging strikeout.

She then struck out the next three batters she faced in the third inning, two swinging and one called.

In the top of the fourth, Hoisington cemented their lead.  Their first three batters got on base and then scored.

Ava Henry scored from first due to an errant throw on Mollie Steiner’s single.  Steiner reached third on the error.

Steiner would score as Keeley Wolf forced a play at first.

Kandence Urban hit a sacrifice fly to right field.  Gracie Alyward tagged up and scored from third base.

Hoisington extended their lead to 5 to 0.

Russell got on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning.  Taylor Powers scored on a passed ball from third base.

The Lady Broncos would not threaten to score the rest of the game.

Both pitchers went the distance for their team.

Russell’s Kendra Bay faced 34 batters in the game.  She struck out six and walked one.  Bay gave up 13 hits and five runs, three earned.

Kassidy Nixon pitched all seven innings after throwing ten in the previous game Wednesday afternoon.   In this game, she faced 26 batters, walking three and striking out 12.   She allowed only one hit and one unearned run.

“We talked to them after the first game and said this is just the semifinal game,” said Hoisington coach Tim Boxberger.  “We need to enjoy this for a few minutes, get our jerseys changed, and refocus and play with energy.  Scoring those runs in the first couple innings helped us and energized us.”

When asked about Kassidy Nixon as a pitcher, Coach Boxberger said, “She was awesome.  That girl is one of the biggest competitors I’ve ever met.  I asked her if she wanted to come out, and she said,  ‘You are not taking me out, I’m good.’”

Russell ends the season with a 16 and 6 record.

Hoisington will return to the 3A State Tournament for the first time since 2015 with an 18 and 4 record.

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