The Pratt High softball team will get its chance to advance in the state bracket with a win over Paola in tonight’s late game in Salina.


Pratt earned the No. 3 seed in the tournament, but got a somewhat tough draw in No. 6 Paola (19-4).


The Pratt High softball team will get its chance to advance in the state bracket with a win over Paola in tonight’s late game in Salina.

Pratt earned the No. 3 seed in the tournament, but got a somewhat tough draw in No. 6 Paola (19-4).

The Panthers have three tough pitchers at their disposal, including Molli Morgan, who is likely to be up against Pratt’s Brittnee Hill. Morgan is a hard-throwing starter with a good fastball.

“Well, like any team that’s made it this far, they’re going to be solid,” said coach Mike Forshee. “They have four or five seniors. They’re a good hitting team, but again, most everyone is at this point. They’re pretty solid defensively and pretty strong in the outfield, especially right field. They’ve got a pretty good catcher. They’ve got a sophomore pitcher that throws pretty hard, like what we saw in Colby.”

On offense, Paola has a solid lineup up and down, just like the Lady Greenbacks. Like Pratt, Paola’s leadoff hitter is also their shortstop, Mackenzie Hallstrom. She was the Tri-County Spotlight player of the year last season, and has hit for a high average this season.

They have a solid third baseman named Amber Harris who is solid in the field and at the plate, hitting for average with some pop in her bat as well.

Their second baseman is Courtney Johnson and is a former all-league player.

Defensively, Paola has been strong all year, with first baseman Kristin Engbroten digging out everything at first base.

Cheyenne Rankin plays right field and has one of the best arms on the team. She has been known to throw players out at first base on what should have been a single to the outfield.

Pratt, however, has their own solid lineup, with a solid offense all season. Against tough pitching, they have slowed a bit, but with Hill on the mound, even a few runs gives them a good chance to advance to the semifinals.

“There’s always a lot of emotions at the beginning of games,” he said. “I’m expecting a pitcher’s battle early in the game, but as people settle down and adjust, both teams will hit the ball some.”

They may have trouble winning on a passed ball this time, however. Paola’s catcher, Melanie Golubski, is error-free behind the plate and has been solid all season long.

The bottom line is, if Pratt can play their game, manufacture some runs and play good defense behind Hill, a spot in the semifinals is theirs for the taking. Forshee said he expects it to be an evenly matched game.

“The team that can take advantage of someone else’s mistakes, especially in games like this, that will be the team that comes out on top,” he said. “We’re playing awfully well too. If we come out mentally prepared, we’ll be right in the mix.”

Should they win, they would play at 10 a.m. in a semifinal, most likely against No. 2 Andale.

First pitch for the Paola game is set for 7 p.m. in Salina.