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Archive for Saturday, April 16, 2005

SMNW silences Free State

April 16, 2005

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Free State High's softball team played two radically different games Friday, yet the Firebirds lost both against Shawnee Mission Northwest.

The Firebirds were soundly defeated, 11-1, in the first game, but bounced back before dropping a nailbiter in the nightcap, 4-2.

Free State High's Sachi Sakumura makes a catch in right field
against Shawnee Mission Northwest. The Firebirds lost a
doubleheader Friday at Free State.

Free State High's Sachi Sakumura makes a catch in right field against Shawnee Mission Northwest. The Firebirds lost a doubleheader Friday at Free State.

Firebirds coach Pam Pine didn't know why her squad played so differently.

"I was sitting there trying to figure that out myself," Pine said, "because I thought that (SM Northwest pitcher Kim Jones) threw harder than the one in the first game."

The close second game was a pleasant surprise, since Jones struck out 14 Firebird batters going into the final inning. But Free State kept it close defensively and had two runners in scoring position with one out in the bottom of the seventh before Jones turned in her 15th and 16th strikeouts against the next two Free State batters.

Free State's Jamie Stanclift said it almost was impossible to win with so many batters swinging at so many pitches.

"We struck out a whole lot more than normal," Stanclift said. "Everyone has their off days, but we just had a lot of people with off days today. And when that all snowballs, it's tough to come back from those strikeouts."

It seemed the second game was headed the way of the first when the Cougars scored four runs in the first two innings while Jones struck out the first six Firebirds.

But Free State pitcher Catherine Smith settled down and allowed six hits the rest of the way -- just days after picking up a victory Tuesday against Leavenworth.

Free State High softball coach Pam Pine, second from right, meets
with her players between innings of an 11-1, first-game loss to
Shawnee Mission Northwest. The Firebirds lost both games of a
doubleheader Friday at FSHS.

Free State High softball coach Pam Pine, second from right, meets with her players between innings of an 11-1, first-game loss to Shawnee Mission Northwest. The Firebirds lost both games of a doubleheader Friday at FSHS.

"I thought I did a good job. I did even better than (against Leavenworth)," Smith said.

It was the sort of performance Free State could have used in the first game.

Starter Ashley Wagner was laced early and often by Cougar batters, and she didn't get much run support, either. SMNW quickly mounted a 5-0 lead in the third inning and didn't look back.

The only Free State run came when SMNW shortstop Katie Mathis dropped a towering fly ball with two outs. By the time the ball bounced off her glove, Brooke Abney was about to step on home plate.

Free State (4-4) will travel Tuesday to Shawnee Mission West.












Shawnee Mission Northwest 11, Free State 1
SMNW 221 004 2 -- 11 15 1
FSHS 000 001 0 -- 1 9 0
W--Kelly Martin. L--Ashley Wagner,2B--SMNW: Katie Mathis, Martin, Tiffany Carter. Free State: Brooke Abney.Free State highlight: Brooke Abney 2-for-3, double.Shawnee Mission Northwest 4, Free State 2
SMNW 022 000 0 -- 4 12 1
FSHS 002 000 0 -- 2 6 0
W--Kim Jones. L--Catherine Smith.2B--SMNW: Mathis, Amber Freeman 2. Free State: Allie Hock, Jamie Stanclift. HR--SMNW: Alyx Schmidt.Free State highlights: Stanclift 1-for-1, 2 walks. Chloe Hall 2-for-3.

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