OTTAWA – The Louisburg Lady Cats softball team rallied from a 7-4 deficit to upset the second-seeded Ottawa Cyclones in their backyard in the semifinals of the Class 4A regional softball tournament.
Louisburg scored five runs in the top of the seventh inning against Ottawa to upset the Cyclones 9-7 on Tuesday, May 14 at Orlis Cox Field.
The Lady Cats were not done, breaking a 3-3 tie with a three-run seventh inning against Chanute in the championship game.
Karson Griggs doubled to put the Lady Cats on top. Louisburg went on to put five runs across the plate in the frame.
Chanute fought right back, scoring two runs in the home half of the seventh inning to make it a one0-run game, 6-5.
Brooklyn Diederich then shut the door, winning a huge battle against Chanute for the final out.
The Louisburg Lady Cats (9-14) will play Andale (21-1) in the opening round of the state tournament at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 23 at Bill Burke Complex in Salina.
Louisburg, seeded 15th in the 18-team regional, opened its run to improbable regional championship with a 17-2 victory against Parsons in a play-in game held at Louisburg on Monday, May 13. The Lady Cats were down 2-0 in that game.
The Louisburg Lady Cats had come-from-behind victories in two of its three regional victories and held on for a one-run victory in the championship game.
“In each game of the regional playoffs, we took on a familiar challenge,” Louisburg coach John Ozier said. “Whether it was falling behind to Parsons early, losing the lead to Ottawa or hanging on for dear life against Chanute, the girls were resilient and mentally tough.”
It all came down to pitcher versus hitter with the game on the line in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“The battle at the end of the game between Brooklyn and the Chanute hitter was epic,” Ozier said. “It had everyone from both sides on the edge of their seats. When she finally won the battle, a flood of emotions hit our players and coaching staff hard.
“It was the ending that I was hoping for. The girls all deserved this moment,” he said. “We have worked so hard over the past four years to give this program respect and credibility. I am so proud of each and every one of them.”
Louisburg had a tough season, heading into the regional with a record of 6-14. The Lady Cats left a few wins on the table, Ozier said, getting stung a few times by one bad inning.
The final week of the regular season was the hardest of all as rival Paola swept Louisburg on senior night.
The Lady Cats had two choices, prepare for the season to be over, or fight to play on. The disappointment of senior night lite a fire and the rest is another chapter in Louisburg softball history.
“Our lowest point came late in the season on senior night against Paola. I felt like we were too caught up in all of the emotional events that go on that night, and completely lost focus,” Ozier said. “Paola delivered a wake-up call, early and often that night. It turns out that it was just what we needed.
“We re-committed our efforts in practices leading up to the playoffs, approaching each game with a ‘we're not ready to be done’ mentality,” he said.
Paige Eccher was 3-for-4 against Chanute. She drove home three runs and scored.
Molly Rison had two hits and drove in one run. Griggs singled, doubled and drove in one run against Chanute.
Madison Svoboda singled, drove in one run and scored twice. Diederich singled and drove in one run. Kayla Willey and Lauren Cutshaw singled and scored.
Mia Wilson started the game, allowing three runs on six hits. August Daniels came on in relief, giving up one run. Diederich pitched the final inning for the save, giving up one run on one hit.
Griggs homered against Ottawa. She drove in one run and scored twice.
Svoboda singled, doubled and drove in two runs. Cutshaw had two hits and drove home two runs. Willey walked, singled, drove in two runs and scored.
Diederich pitched the complete game, allowing seven runs on seven hits.
Louisburg scored in every inning it came to the plate against Parsons.
Cutshaw scored four times. Rison had three runs scored. Svoboda and Griggs each scored twice.
Diederich went the distance, giving up two runs on three hits. She struck out five.