Lady Bronco Bats Silenced by Cards' Pitching as Season Ends

2022 Russell/Victoria Softball Team (Photo by Jason Drake Photography)
2022 Russell/Victoria Softball Team (Photo by Jason Drake Photography)

HAYS-Jordyn Boxberger tossed a one-hit shutout while Kassidy Nixon and Kashlin Beck each hit two-run homers as Hoisington-Central Plains cruised to a 13-0 win over Russell-Victoria in the Class 3A Regional Softball Semifinals on Wednesday.

Originally scheduled to be played on the campus of TMP-Marian in Hays which served as the tournament host, Wednesday's semifinals and championship game were shifted to the turf fields of Bickle-Schmidt Sports Complex after rains on Tuesday night left the Monarchs home field in unplayable condition.

Kassi Weber led off the  game with an infield single which proved to be the Lady Broncos lone hit of the contest.  Weber however wound up stranded at third base after the next three batters could not drive her in.  The Lady Cardinals then exploded for six runs in the bottom half of the inning off starting and losing pitcher Brooklyn Nowak.  Beck's two-run shot capped an inning that included three singles, two walks and and RBI groundout.  

Three more runs crossed the plate for Hoisington-Central Plains in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by Kadence Urban and Nixon's two-run homer which glanced off centerfielder Melany Huser's glove and over the temporary outfield fence.  The Lady Cardinals added another tally in the third on a wild pitch and three more in the fourth on an pair of RBI singles and a double-steal.

Boxberger cruised through her start for Hoisington-Central Plains, retiring 14 Russell-Victoria hitters in a row until Tionna Napue who pitched the final two and two thirds innings in relief of Nowak reached on an error with two out in the top of the fifth.  Emicka Shoemaker then lined out to second base to end the game and the Lady Broncos season.

In Wednesday's other semifinal, Beloit used a three-run rally in the bottom of the sixth inning to upend TMP-Marian-La Crosse 3-2 and earn the right to battle Hoisington-Central Plains for the title.  The Lady Cardinals (22-1) had little trouble with the Trojans in an 11-0 rout to claim their second consecutive Regional championship and earn a berth in the Class 3A State Tournament which begins May 26 in Manhattan.  The Lady Cardinals outscored their three Regional opponents by a combined total of 40-0.

Russell-Victoria concludes the 2022 season with a record of 8-14, having won at least one Regional game for the second straight year after Monday's 5-4 victory at Sylvan-Lucas-Lincoln.  Wednesday's game marked the final appearance in a Bronco uniform for seniors Emicka Shoemaker, Kayla Noller, Kassi Weber, Melany Huser, Alba Gonzalez-Garcia and Honnah Neal as well as head coach Kate James who stepped down after one season on the job to take a position elsewhere.