High School Sports

High School Sports

Lions lose pair in season opener

Lawrence High pitcher Lauren Massey delivers to the plate in the second inning. The Lions fell to Shawnee Mission North, 4-2 and 3-2, on Thursday at Lawrence High.

Lawrence High pitcher Lauren Massey delivers to the plate in the second inning. The Lions fell to Shawnee Mission North, 4-2 and 3-2, on Thursday at Lawrence High.

March 26, 2010


Entering its season-opening doubleheader with visiting Shawnee Mission North on Thursday, the Lawrence High softball team figured its new — and long-awaited — state-of-the-art facility would provide a home-field advantage of sorts.

Instead, it might have done more harm than good.

Unable to use the lights that surround the field because they haven’t yet met specifications consistent with an agreement between the school district and the Centennial Neighborhood Association, the teams’ second game Thursday night was called after five innings due to a lack of daylight, sending the Lions home with a narrow 3-2 loss and ruffling the feathers of the team’s longtime coach.

Lawrence High catcher Kristen Bell awaits a throw to home to force out Shawnee Mission North runner Cally Cowan during the fifth inning of the Lions' first game, Thursday, March 25, at Lawrence High School.

Lawrence High catcher Kristen Bell awaits a throw to home to force out Shawnee Mission North runner Cally Cowan during the fifth inning of the Lions' first game, Thursday, March 25, at Lawrence High School.

“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that we have to end a varsity softball game in the fifth inning because we can’t turn on lights that we have,” Lawrence High’s Reenie Stogsdill said. “It hurts the girls more than anything. We have a chance to come back and win a game, but we can’t because we can’t turn the lights on.”

Following the game, LHS athletic director Ron Commons indicated the lighting issue stems from a failure to pass a “performance grid test,” which measures the stadium’s on-field lighting as well as the manner in which it extends beyond the field, where a number of residential homes are located.

“I’m not sure exactly what has failed on the softball (field), I just know that it hasn’t passed,” Commons said. “So the light company that installed those has to come back and aim some of the bulbs at a different angle so that it meets specifications, and once that happens, we’ll be able to use the lights.”

Had the lights been available Thursday, Lawrence High might have been able to avoid a disappointing start to its season.

LHS falls to SMNorth in stadium opener

The Lions lose to the Shawnee Mission North Indians in the first game in their new stadium. Enlarge video

After dropping the first game of the day, 4-2, the Lions came out firing in the nightcap, out-hitting the visiting Indians 6-4 and putting themselves in a favorable position after tying the game at 2 with a two-run third inning that included extra-base hits from Jamie Jarrett, Lauren Massey and Kasey Waite.

Before the start of the fifth inning, however, with the game still tied at 2, both teams’ coaches met with the umpires and decided that, due to the quickly approaching nightfall, they’d play one more inning before calling the game.

The Indians (2-0) promptly manufactured a run in the top of the inning off a B.J. Specht leadoff single, while the Lions couldn’t answer in the bottom of the inning despite having two runners reach base.

“It’s always hard to get that close and not get it,” said Massey, who pitched both games for the Lions (0-2). “There were a lot of times we had some people on base, but we just couldn’t score.”

While the lighting issues represented a slight black mark to the field’s christening, the complex’s presence still warranted plenty of excitement from the team’s players, who in the past have been relegated to off-campus facilities for practice and games.

“It’s wonderful to be at your school playing,” Massey said. “It’s a great facility, and it’s great to have it here.”

Added Stogsdill: “I’ve been doing this for a lot of years, and I can’t tell you what it’s like to have our own field on campus. The girls can take ownership of it, and once it’s finished, it will be a great place to play softball.”


softball_sister 8 years, 3 months ago

It was so nice to see our Lady Lions on their own field. Too bad the neighborhood association keeps trying hinder your success. Maybe they need to come out and actually experience the atmosphere for themselves and see what all the excitement is about during ballgames and appreciate the youth of our community. Instead, the members of the association would rather come out and complain during practice time (what little you have) and then walk their animals on our new fields once practice is over---allowing their animals to urinate and poo on our new fields. Our players must then waste precious practice time the next day picking up the feces purposely left behind. Lady Lions you show much more class and sportmanship than the "neighbors". You demonstrate your abilities in the classroom and on the ball field. Many of you use this as a stepping stone for play at the college level. Can't wait for more students to come out to see the new facility and support the Lady Lions at home. The more fans--the better the atmosphere. Lady Lions be proud of YOUR stadium! You deserve to call YOUR stadium HOME!

Robert Tryanski 8 years, 3 months ago

A couple of thoughts

1.) Just about everyone would agree that allowing pets to soil the new fields is obnoxious and irresponsible. To assume that it was one of the neighbors is equally irresponsible and almost as obnoxious. Here is another possibility that concerned LHS Boosters might want to consider. There is a small family of foxes that have lived in the wooded area behind the high school for years. Those foxes have been seen stretched out on the field and in the parking lot since the construction began and their habitat was uprooted. It's quite possible that they are responsible for the above referenced overwhelming deposits of feces. Stray dogs also drift through the neighborhood and across the fields all the time. One simple way to avoid this would be to lock the fence when the field isn't being used. Apparently that is more cumbersome than simply blaming the neighbors.

2.) The neighbors did not create the school district's current predicament. The school district created their own set of lighting specs and let the project drift for months. Now school officials and employees want others to shoulder the blame for their own shortcomings. What a nice way to model responsible adult behavior for the kids.

3.) Meeting the lighting specs is required by city code and was guaranteed by the school district.

4.) The school district signed an agreement that promised to meet the lighting specs in October. They have been in violation of that agreement for five months. One might ask why the school district's management team has been unable to guide this process through to an acceptable conclusion. Blaming the weather and the neighbors is a red herring, an easily recognized fallacy, something that would be flagged by any 9th grade speech and debate teacher. Once again, the school district's efforts get a grade of D-.

5.) Given the fact that the school district has known for months that the lighting has not yet met the specs, one might wonder why school officials didn't consider scheduling games so they wouldn't have to be forfeited.

6.) As hard as it is to believe, the neighbors are current parents, former parents and former teachers at LHS. They are equally angry and frustrated that the school district's inept management, poor leadership, and dishonest patterns of communication have forced them to use high school students as human shields in their battle against the evil galactic neighborhood.

Give me a break!

not_that_crazy 8 years, 3 months ago

Do people really let their animals (purposefully or not) relieve themselves on the new facilities? Really? And then the students are the ones that have to clean it up? Really? Isn't that petty, juvenile and a health hazard? (Okay, enough of Seth Myers and Saturday Night Live.)

As I saw on these boards the other day...be careful softball players are big and carry bats. If I had been waiting to have nice facilities like all the other schools in the league, I would protect my 'turf.'

Robert Tryanski 8 years, 3 months ago

What a responsible suggestion from not_that_crazy: encourage the girls to behave like Teamsters. Why stop there? You could encourage the parents to back the young ladies up by bringing their guns to the games. If you're really feeling ambitious you might want to get the whole gang together and club the foxes like they do with those nasty harp seals.

Then again, you could always just lock the field when practice is over.

Robert Tryanski 8 years, 3 months ago

One final observation,

I can't believe I missed this. I thought the team had to forfeit the game because of the dark. Turns out they had to accept the fact that they lost after both sets of coaches and the umpires agreed to play one more inning with the game tied 2-2. Shawnee scored a run; Lawrence didn't. Damn those viscous neighbors!

The game wasn't the only loss yesterday afternoon. The girls softball coach might have inflicted the most significant loss of all, a lost opportunity to teach one of the most important lessons in sports: when you lose, it's best to focus on those aspects of your performance that caused you to fail rather than blaming others for your lack of performance.

The great news is that you can actually play two games of softball, with equal opportunity for both sides to win or lose, under the miraculous illumination of the sun!

Class dismissed.

Hop2It 8 years, 3 months ago

Let them play! Let them Play! Let them Play! Well, it worked in the Bad News Bears.

Lets set up a "poop cam" to see who the real culprits are. I doubt foxes like turf. But this is Lawrence and maybe it is the fox family. The cute little buggers could win $10,000 on America's Funniest Home Videos.

sbdad 8 years, 3 months ago

Yes, I would have loved for the game to go the full 7 innings, I also wish the district wouldn't blame a wet winter for the cause of an unfinished park. Then at the last minute they try to throw every thing together. That doesn't include the fact that there were no restrooms for the public ( if there was, no one knew where they were).One elderly couple left after four innings due to no restroom facilities. The turf has been down for months and nothing more has been done. It sounds like the field wasn't finished and ready for a ball game, maybe postpone the game, move the game, anything but not finish. If had rained we would of finished at a later date. Instead, a Athletic Director that had no Idea what the problem was, or what it would take to fix it. Has the company that installed the lights been payed? I know if I pay a contractor to do a job and its not right, I call and bug them till its fixed, apparently no one at LHS cared enough about this team to check into the problem . The very minimum is put into this group of girls, the uniforms are trashed and worn out, Shawnee Mission North had brand new bright uniforms. The LHS boys team always look great, I get the Idea that their coach truly cares about his team and puts some pride into them, he even attended to show his support. By reading the article, it appears this team has pride and heart, Maybe is time the coaches and school administration does the same.

sbdad 8 years, 3 months ago

Paulette2, You and I stand on two different sides of the "fence" so to speak, but we have a more in common than you would think. We both have been let down by the school district, its going to be interesting what side of the "fence" they end up. As far as the lights go, the reality is there are only five more game nights at that stadium. Right now it appears they are letting everyone down. Good luck to you as well, but right now its the kids being hurt, they just want to play ball. So fix the darn lights, fix the drainage they promised and lets play ball. Oh..paulette2, you to are welcomed to attend the next game, heck your neighbors too. Evidently it will cost you nothing in gas, its free, and the girls sure could use the support.

sbdad 8 years, 2 months ago

and again..nothing got done, same old story.

wakarusan 8 years, 2 months ago

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