Preps notebook: Tatum Clopton tosses perfect game, leads FSHS softball to 1-0 win

Free State sophomore Tatum Clopton celebrates a strikeout during a game against Olathe South, April 2. Clopton threw a perfect game in the 1-0 win.

Tatum Clopton’s opening act of her sophomore campaign was a thing of beauty. Yet, somehow, the talented Free State hurler had an even better encore.

Eight days after tossing a one-hit complete-game effort, Clopton pitched a perfect game to help Free State secure a 1-0 win over Olathe South Tuesday night at FSHS. Kay Lee Richardson put the finishing touches on a walk-off win with a triple, which scored Chloe Taylor.

“The kids don’t even realize it, they don’t realize how special that game was,” FSHS coach Lee Ice said. “She only got behind in the count a couple times, got to a 3-2 count twice. She threw clutch pitches in those counts.”

It was clear from the start that Clopton was going to have a special showing in the circle.

Clopton, an Oklahoma State commit, struck out the first nine Olathe South batters to begin the game. She then struck out the side in the fifth on her way to a 17-strikeout performance, which matched her total from the season opener last Monday.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever thrown a perfect game before, so that was a pretty big deal and it came against a very good opponent,” Clopton said. “I’m a strikeout pitcher, we really go full throttle. We will attack that zone really hard all the time.”

Free State freshman Kay Lee Richardson takes a swing in the sixth inning of a game against Olathe South on April 2, 2019 at FSHS.

At one point, Clopton actually recorded three strikeouts on the minimum number of pitches. She sat down a trio of batters on nine pitches during the fifth inning, which proved to be just as an important of a feat as her perfect game.

“I’ve been working toward that ever since I started pitching,” Clopton said. “It is definitely something we talk about all the time. I finally got there, and I was so excited.”

The Firebirds (4-0) finally came through with enough run support in the last half inning.

Freshman Maci Miles began the seventh frame off with the walk, which allowed Taylor to enter the game as a pinch runner. Richardson then came through with the game-winning hit, knocking a triple into the right-center gap to keep Free State’s undefeated season alive.

“I was just thinking about my teammates and doing what I needed to do to take the win,” Richardson said.

Free State travels to Shawnee Mission-Northwest at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Strong pitching leads to convincing win for FSHS

David Stuart spun a gem to lift Free State baseball to a 7-1 win over Shawnee Mission West Tuesday night at FSHS.

The Firebirds have now won five games in a row, which has been courtesy of stellar pitching performances. The latest came via Stuart, who spun six scoreless frames and allowed six hits. He struck out five batters and walked none, throwing 65.8 percent of his 73 pitches for strikes.

“I thought David Stuart was terrific on the mound,” FSHS head coach Mike Hill said. “Shawnee Mission West is a good offensive team, and he threw six shutout innings. It was a real testament to his day.”

Free State junior David Stuart fires a pitch during a game against Shawnee Mission Northwest, April 2, 2019 at FSHS.

Free State (5-2) scored enough early runs to help Stuart’s gem. The Firebirds scored two runs in the first and four more runs in the third. They added one more in the sixth for good measure, recording six hits in the win.

Jack Kallenberger paced the offensive effort with three hits and a pair of RBIs in the process. Peyton Sparks was also credited with two RBIs, while Colter Maldonado delivered a pair of hits for the Firebirds.

“Offensively, we are taking strides. We still have a long way to go,” Hill said. “I thought we had a few key hits today.”

Free State travels to Olathe North at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Firebirds finish as runner-up

Free State’s boys tennis took second at its home meet Tuesday afternoon, falling to Shawnee Mission Northwest. Mill Valley placed third, while Olathe Northwest came in fourth in the team standings.

Davis Steadman and Trey Melvin, Free State’s No. 1 doubles team, won all three of their matches in the first home meet of the year. Sawyer Nickel, who is the team’s top singles player, went 2-1 on the day.

“I started off OK, I didn’t like my first match really,” Nickel said. “My second match, I felt like I was serving really real. That’s what put me ahead and I like playing with a lead.”

Free State senior Sawyer Nickel rallies back a ball in a singles match at the Firebird Invitational on April 2, 2019.

Henry Six and Ben Melvin went 2-1 as the FSHS No. 2 doubles tandem. Zaine Brittain also netted one win as the No. 2 singles player for the Firebirds. FSHS finished just two points shy of Shawnee Mission Northwest.

FSHS girls soccer claims first win of 2019

A lot of scores came in Free State’s first win of the year.

The Firebirds (1-2-1) poured in eight goals during an 8-0 road win over Shawnee Mission North Tuesday night. Emma Yackley led the way with three scores, while Maddison Beeley drilled two goals. Meron Hayden, Kenzie Rorabaugh and Victoria Flores all scored as well.

Kaelynn Weiss and Nicole Knapp contributed to the shutout with strong performances in the net.

The win came one night after Free State posted a strong defensive showing in a 1-1 draw at home with Manhattan. Freshman Aspen Wilson scored the lone goal for the Firebirds, netting the equalizer three minutes into the second half.

Free State plays host to Olathe Northwest at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Baldwin girls soccer remains undefeated

The Baldwin girls soccer team scratched out an 1-0 win against a high-scoring Spring Hill team Tuesday night. With the win, the Bulldogs are now 4-0 to start the season.

Junior forward Anna Burnett, who leads the team with nine goals and one assist through four games, drilled the game-winning score off an assist by senior Divya Hopkins. Senior goalkeeper Paige Ellis tallied nine saves in the win, including two key snags.

Baldwin will travel to Bonner Springs on Thursday.

LHS softball nets first win of Seratte era

Lawrence’s softball team rolled past Shawnee Mission West for an 18-4 road win Tuesday night.

The Lions (1-1) needed just five innings to earn their first win of the season. It also marked the first victory under first-year head coach Steve Seratte, who previously served as an assistant for Free State’s softball team for the last nine seasons.

Sydney Delfelder went 4-for-4 with three RBIs, while Jesse Cox posted a 2-of-2 effort at the plate and three runs scored. Cox also threw two scoreless innings. Kaylee McNish was the winning pitcher for LHS.

Lawrence travels to Olathe East at 4:15 p.m. Thursday.

Lawrence baseball suffers tough road loss

The Lions ended up on the losing end of a back-and-forth battle with Olathe Northwest Tuesday night. LHS dropped a 6-5 decision after allowing a run in the last half inning of the league tilt on the road.

After giving up three runs in the opening frame, Lawrence (3-3) evened things up immediately with three runs in the top of the second. The Ravens scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth, but the Lions responded with two runs of their own in the sixth.

Devin Neal, the team’s leadoff hitter, led the way with a pair of hits to go along with two RBIs. Neal clubbed a double and a triple. Garrett Romero also delivered an RBI triple. Hank Dobson and Preston Harris each came through with a base knock.

Lawrence plays host to Olathe East at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Baldwin softball sweeps Perry-Lecompton

Baldwin rolled during both games of its doubleheader against Perry-Lecompton on Monday.

The Bulldogs secured an 11-6 win in the first game before rolling to a 19-1 victory in the nightcap. Peyton Shrouds went 4-for-4 for the Kaws (0-2) in the loss in the first game, while Aly Wright and Gracie Gonzales each notched a base knocks in the nightcap.

Perry-Lecompton will play host to Sabetha on Thursday.

In other area softball news, Eudora split its doubleheader with Paola on Tuesday. EHS needed just five innings to cruise to a 10-0 in the first game. Paola responded with a 7-4 victory in the second tilt.

Area track teams post promising start to 2019

Perry-Lecompton swept the competition at a home meet Tuesday afternoon. The boys team scored 132 points, finishing 11 points ahead of runner-up Sabetha. The girls narrowly defeated Sabetha by 1.5 points, scoring 114.5 points in the win.

On the girls side, PLHS won five events on their way to an event victory. Cali Coleman ran a 13.06 to place first in the 100-meter dash and she won the triple jump with a leap of 34-5.00. Campbell Keller posted a time of 28.63 to win the 200-meter dash. Ally Nally won shot put with a toss of 32-5.50, while Morgen Coyle won javelin with a throw of 99-6.00.

The boys team, meanwhile, placed first in three individual events. Dalton Kellum ran an 11.22 to win the 100-meter dash, while Shane Quinlan netted first in the 200 with a time of 22.44. Calvin McPherson clinched a win in the 1600-meter run with a time of 5:08.56.

Baldwin’s girls track and field team won its home meet Monday in convincing fashion. BHS scored 165 points, while Blue Valley Southwest finished in second by a good margin with 96 points.

Josie Boyle bested her competition in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:02.49. Carly Lindenmeyer took the top spot in long jump with a leap of 17-9.00. Kayla Kurtz finished first in shot put with a toss of 36-01.00, while Kurtz also recorded a winning-throw of 141-04 in javelin. Jewel Marsh finished first in discus with a throw of 107-10.

The Eudora girls track and field team also won two events in its eventual fourth-place finish. Reagan Hiebert cruised to a win in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 12:31.70. Chloe Thakker placed first in high jump with a mark of 5-02.00.

Matt Jackson finished first in the 100-meter dash (11.49) and 200-meter dash (23.14) for the Baldwin boys team, which came in seventh.

Three athletes netted gold medals for an Eudora boys team that placed third overall. Bobby Lounsbury registered first in the 400-meter dash with a mark of 52.02. Caleb Zimmerman won the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.90, while Garrett Durr was victorious in shot put with a throw of 12-06.00.


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