Week 5: Softball power index
1. Pratt (LW: 1) – The Central Kansas League, known for its strong softball, had a big week last week. Pratt and Haven, each undefeated entering last Tuesday’s doubleheader, split a pair of games.
Pratt, now with one loss, still retains control of the league standings but hosts Lyons on Friday in a key doubleheader. Pratt, which permitted just 12 runs in a 10-1 start, has posted easily the fewest runs allowed in the CKL and is one of the state’s best at run prevention.
Pratt won the first contest, 3-2, and Haven took the second game, 4-0. Both contests featured the pair of aces: Pratt’s Paige Huber and Haven’s Bailey Brawner.
In the first contest, Pratt scored a run in the bottom of the seventh of the victory. Pratt had eight hits and two errors, while Haven tallied four hits and three errors. Huber worked seven innings, Brawner six. Huber struck out 14 batters and threw first-pitch strikes to 19 batters.
In the 4-0 shutout, Brawner permitted just one hit as she outdueled Huber, who threw first-pitch strikes to 22 batters. Huber struck out five batters, Brawner four. Brawner and Amy Burton each collected two hits for the Wildcats. Haven tallied a run in the top of the first and then three in the fourth. The Wildcats finished with eight hits.
2. Bishop Carroll (LW: 2) – The Golden Eagles (13-1) have outscored teams 197-20 and had last week off. Carroll is at North on Tuesday, at Maize on Thursday and then plays host to Northwest on May 8.
3. Maize (LW: 3) – Maize remains perfect at 14-0 after sweeping Newton (19-5, 15-0) on Tuesday and then edging Campus on Friday in a road doubleheader (3-0, 3-2). Maize has six shutouts and has permitted just 24 total runs this spring.
4. Haven (LW: 6) – Haven had a pair of key CKL doubleheaders versus Pratt on Tuesday and Lyons on Friday. The Wildcats split both and moved to 12-2. Haven had tallied double-digit runs in each of the first 10 contests before tallying six versus Pratt in its 3-2 loss and 4-0 win.
On Friday, Haven had a near-perfect performance in the first game against Lyons (10-0 win) and then dropped the second contest, 20-17. Brawner permitted two hits in the shutout as Haven won in six innings.
Alexis Hoskinson led off the game with a home run. In the second contest, Haven trailed by five entering the bottom of the seventh inning. Senior Haley Harner led off the inning with a homer, her second of the game, and third of the doubleheader, but the Wildcats couldn’t come back. Haven plays host to Kingman on Tuesday and Hoisington on Friday.
5. Garden City (LW: NR) – The Buffs, one of the top teams in the CIK area earlier this season, have returned to form after four straight losses. Garden City (10-4) has won three straight WAC doubleheaders, including a dominating home sweep against Great Bend on Thursday (13-1, 10-4). Laura Farmer had missed more than two weeks with a left elbow injury.
After the injury, she had played sparingly before GB. In the first contest, she went 3 of 3, including a three-run homer. In the second one, she had two more hits. GC travels to rival Dodge City on Tuesday and can win its second straight WAC title.
The Buffs are part of a major shakeup in the poll following the top-three teams. Maize South (13-5), Valley Center (11-3) and Great Bend (8-6) all suffered defeats. Northwest stands at 12-1 and has tallied 177 runs but have cruised against weaker City League opponents.
6. Lyons (LW: NR) – Lyons (11-3) has delivered another solid season for veteran coach Marlin Clark. The Lions, on a streak of four straight state appearances, had the split with Haven after an April 21 split against 13-3 Kingman. Against Kingman, Lyons won 10-4 and lost 21-6.
Lyons plays host to Smoky Valley on Tuesday and is at Pratt on Friday. The Lions have received tremendous seasons from junior Alexis Villanuava and senior Fiona Jamie. Through the first 12 contests, Villanuava batted .700 (including four doubles and a team-high three triples). and Jaime was at .625. On a 17-5 team last season, Villanuava batted .219 and Jaime hit .297.
7. Circle (LW: NR) – The T-Birds have enjoyed a 13-1 season and moved into the rankings for the first time this season. Circle didn’t lose until April 24 when it defeated Mulvane, 3-0, and then lost, 6-4.
On April 27, the T-Birds beat McPherson (11-1, 6-3). On April 17, Circle swept Andale-Garden Plain (3-2, 12-9) and also owns early season sweeps versus Augusta and Clearwater.
Before this season, Circle had lost 15 in a row to powerhouse Augusta and 13 straight to Andale-Garden Plain with both streaks dating back to 2010. A-GP is 10-2 outside of the Circle sweep.
8. Sterling (LW: 7) – The 11-1 Black Bears took their first loss this week in a 16-6 defeat against Marion in Heart of America League play. On April 21, Sterling jumped out to an early lead in a 12-4 victory against Marion. Then, the Black Bears swept Inman (11-1, 20-5) on Tuesday to remain perfect. Lindsay Gilmore drove in five runs in the first contest.
On Friday, Sterling fell to Marion, 16-6. Sterling led 1-0 after the top of the first, but Marion pounded out four runs in the first and second, two in the third and six in the fifth and won 16-6. Marion has had a solid first half to the season, including a 5-3 mark in the first eight contests.
Sterling’s unfinished game against one-loss Cheney on April 13 is affecting the Power Index. Both teams scored eight runs in the second inning, and Cheney led 10-8 after three innings before the game was called.