Free State softball blanks Pioneers

Free State High’s softball team cruised to its first win of the season on Tuesday with a 10-0 victory over Leavenworth at FSHS.

The Firebirds took advantage of nine walks and four errors by the Pioneers to put runners on base. They also received a dominant pitching performance from junior Elizabeth Patton, who struck out nine in four innings while allowing just one hit and one walk.

“I was happy,” Patton said. “My catcher and my defense played really well. Even when I walked one, (catcher Brianna) Burenheide and (infielder Lily) Ross, they got them in the throw down. So they always have my back. I know I don’t have to strike everyone out because they have me 100 percent.”

The Firebirds (1-1) led 3-0 before exploding for seven runs off six hits and three errors in the bottom of the third inning. Junior Cali Byrn hit a two-run single, senior outfielder Kylie Cobb hit a run-scoring single bringing in courtesy runner Kayla Hoppe, sophomore Dacia Starr hit a RBI double and junior Kate Stanwix had a RBI single.

Byrn also smashed a leadoff double in the second inning, and eventually scored on a pair of wild pitches.

“I just needed to wait and stay back on it, which is my number one problem,” Byrn said of her approach at the plate after going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. “I did that and good things happen.”

Patton didn’t give up a hit until the 13th batter she faced. She usually pitches to contact but threw pitches past Leavenworth batters on Tuesday. Sophomore Mayah Daniels pitched the fifth inning, striking out two before the Firebirds earned the run-rule shortened victory.

“I’m a big location person, pitch to contact, because I won’t be the fastest (pitcher) in the league,” Patton said. “Since I have such an awesome defense, I know I can just do my game.”

But even with the big win, the Firebirds weren’t completely happy with their performance at the plate after leaving eight runners on base.

Free State will travel to Olathe Northwest at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Leavenworth 000 00 — 0 1 4

Free State 127 0x — 10 7 1

W — Elizabeth Patton (1-1). L — Meleina Davis.

2B — Ashton Roth, Leavenworth; Cali Byrn, Dacia Starr, Free State.

Free State highlights — Patton, 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 9 Ks, 1-for-1, 2 walks; Byrn, 2-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 runs; Kylie Cobb, 1-for-1, 2 walks, RBI, 3 stolen bases.