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Archive for Saturday, April 9, 2005

Firebirds back on track

What losses? FSHS sweeps Olathe South

April 9, 2005

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The third time was quite charming for Free State's softball team.

After suffering a pair of lopsided losses to defending Class 6A champ Olathe East on Tuesday afternoon, the Firebirds lost any opportunity for redemption against another Olathe school Thursday night because of a waterlogged field at Free State.

Free State High outfielder Aleese Kopf, left, catches a pop fly in
front of teammate Jamie Stanclift. The Firebirds beat Olathe South,
3-0 and 4-1, Friday at Free State.

Free State High outfielder Aleese Kopf, left, catches a pop fly in front of teammate Jamie Stanclift. The Firebirds beat Olathe South, 3-0 and 4-1, Friday at Free State.

Free State frustrations, however, ended Friday when the Firebirds fired off a pair of victories over Olathe South in the makeup doubleheader, winning 3-0 and 4-1.

"Naturally, it would have been pretty easy for them to come out a little rattled with what had already happened during the week," FSHS coach Pam Pine said. "But they kept their heads held high. Really, I think it's a pretty good sign for us in that it shows how much we've matured from a year ago."

Senior pitcher Ashley Wagner struck out five in a shutout victory in the opener, helping Free State sweep an Olathe squad in a doubleheader for the first time in school history.

"It's pretty cool to be a part of that," Wagner said. "It also showed that we're going to be a strong team even after suffering a couple of disappointing setbacks."



The Firebirds (2-2) scored all three runs in the second inning of the opener. Wagner led off with a double and scored when sophomore center fielder Aleese Kopf connected on another two-bagger. Brooke Abney brought in Kopf with a single; freshman Catherine Smith, who went on to pitch the second game for the Firebirds, also scored.

Free State high pitcher Ashley Wagner winds up for a pitch against
Olathe South. The Firebirds swept a doubleheader Friday at Free
State.

Free State high pitcher Ashley Wagner winds up for a pitch against Olathe South. The Firebirds swept a doubleheader Friday at Free State.

Free State continued its early inning offense in the nightcap, scoring a lone run in the bottom of the first when Abney's RBI single scored Jamie Stanclift.

The Firebirds left the bases loaded in the first inning and would strand nine runners for the game. Still, FSHS managed three insurance runs in the sixth thanks to two O-South errors and an RBI line drive by Stanclift.

Wagner said Free State's three seniors -- she, Stanclift and Chloe Hall -- were nervous for the opener against Olathe East, whose only loss last season was at the hands of the Firebirds.

But Wagner said the way her teammates responded Friday was encouraging.

"It was definitely good to rebound and shake all the nerves out," said Wagner, who will pitch again Tuesday against Leavenworth at FSHS. "To come out and not only respond after those two losses but to make history by doing something this program has never done shows that this team is not going to back down."









O. South 000 000 0 -- 0 6 2
FSHS 030 000 X -- 3 6 2
W--Ashley Wagner (1-1). L--Amanda Harrelson.2B--FSHS: Wagner; Aleese Kopf.Free State highlights: Kopf 1-for-2, 2B, run, RBI; Wagner 1-for-3, 2B, run, 5 strikeouts.
O. South 000 000 1 -- 1 5 5
FSHS 100 003 X -- 4 9 0
W--Catherine Smith (1-1). L--Harrelson.Free State highlights: Jamie Stanclift 1-for-2, run, RBI; Brooke Abney 2-for-3, RBI.

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