Rain, rain go away - the Lady Greenbacks came to play
Despite a tedious afternoon of rain delays, high school regional softball action for the Lady Greenbacks of Pratt was anything but dull last week. Head Coach Mike Forshee said that the first game, which was scheduled for a 4:30 p.m. start, didn’t begin until 7 p.m. But the delay didn't seem to affect Pratt's focus. Following a 7-2 stomp of Mulvane, the Lady Greenbacks began their regional championship run and didn’t stop playing ball until 11:30 p.m., with a state berth wrapped up tight.
Game one ended when a Mulvane base runner rounded second base too far after a ground ball out at first base. Staying aggressive, Pratt's Livia Swift (jr) fired the ball to Gabby Gatlin (so) at second base who “got the runner in a pickle,” Forshee said.
A quick toss to Erin Jackson (sr) covering third base and a tag ended the game in favor of Pratt with a comfortable 7-2 margin, but that did not satisfy the Greenbacks.
Against Augusta in game 2, the Lady Greenbacks came up with another hot play to get the win.
At the top of the 7th inning, with one out and bases loaded, a ground ball went to Brooklynn Humble (sr) at third base, who snapped a throw home to Lexi Walker (jr) for the second out. A ground ball that hit one of Augusta’s base runners between second base and third base, became the third out and the play that secured the regional championship title and a trip to state for the Lady Greenbacks.
“I'll start by saying the Lady Greenbacks came to play,” Forshee said. “From our warm-ups at 3 p.m. through the rain delays, a pizza party and BP in the mezzanine, these girls were relaxed, focused, and confident. Kami Theis (sr) was outstanding in the "circle" both games. She and catcher Walker worked their tails off all night long. Walker called a very good game (calling pitches) and opposing batters were never able to get in a rhythm. Our infield was sharp all evening. Humble, Jackson, Gatlin, and Swift played smart and in control. They continued to make the right plays to keep both Mulvane and Augusta (both good teams) from plating but two runs on the night.”
Forshee said that to prepare for the state championship tournament, his team will focus on sharpening their edges and fine-tuning their offense and defense through many reps, as well as trusting the process, taking a relaxing breath and enjoying every moment. The KSHSAA 4A State Softball Tournament will begin on Thursday and Friday, May 27-28 at the Bill Burke Complex in Salina. The Lady Greenbacks will not know their first round opponent until this Saturday, once all other regional competitions have concluded.