PHS softball wins State!

For the first time in school history, the Pratt High softball team captured first place in the State tournament Friday afternoon. In the 8-team tournament hosted at the Green Sports Complex, Lady Green won the team title in rather convincing fashion— to the delight of a standing-room-only crowd of Pratt High supporters.

Greenback Nation was out in full force on both days to cheer on the Pratt High girls, and they responded in stirring fashion— beating Prairie View 11-3 in Thursday’s opening round, then run-ruling their semi-final opponent Goodland 12-0 in five innings AND their championship opponent Clearwater 12-2 in six innings on Friday.

Round one Pratt v LaCygne-Prairie View

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The first three Greenbacks to bat scored, setting the tone for the game and the tournament. Lauren Rambat and Brittnee Hill doubled and Bailey Gillig walked. Bre Becker had a bunt single and Dakota Jones a 2-run single to cap the inning.

Lady Green continued to punish the ball throughout the game, with every starter but one either scoring, getting a hit or picking up an RBI. Rambat and Jones each had 3 hits to pace PHS.

Ace southpaw Brittnee Hill was again in the circle for Pratt and picked up another win, scattering 4 hits. The Buffalos managed 3 runs against Hill— more than any of her other tournament opponents— despite fanning 12 times.

Thus, round one went to Pratt, 11-3. PHS advanced to take on Goodland in Friday morning’s semi-final. Goodland had squeezed past Frontenac 7-6 in extras to earn their way to the semis.

Round two Pratt v Goodland

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Green Sports Complex echoed with the ringing of Pratt’s bats in the semi-finals as the Frogs pounded out 16 hits to post a 12-0 five-inning run-rule decision against Goodland. Hurler Hill gave up singles to the Cowgirls to open their first and second innings, but that was all.

Meanwhile, after a couple of scoreless turns at the plate, Lady Green opened up the floodgates in the third— posting a 5-spot. Hill singled to start the rally, and Paige Huber courtesy-ran. Gillig and Becker followed with hits, and after an out, Kelsey Smith-Potter and Jones added RBI base rips. Brooke Theis clubbed a ball into the left field corner for a 2-run double and Pratt had command of the game 5-0 after three.

Rambat started the hit parade for Pratt again in the fourth. Gillig, Becker, Savanah Buntemeyer, Jones and Theis each had knocks in the 4-run frame as well. PHS added 3 more in the fifth inning to go up 12-0, and that was the run-rule win.

#3-seeded PHS thus advanced to the finals against #5-seeded Clearwater, who had beaten Santa Fe Trail in the opener and Jefferson County West in the semi-finals.

Championship game: Pratt v Clearwater

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The Indians jumped on top of Pratt in the top of the first as Clearwater’s fine shortstop Bryna Vogel rode one out with a teammate aboard to give them the 2-0 early lead.

That could have been a deflating moment for Lady Green, but it was not. “This team never gives up,” observed PHS head coach Mike Forshee. “They didn’t get down when Clearwater got ahead.”

“I knew my teammates would get those runs back for me,” pitcher Brittnee Hill said afterwards. “I knew I just had to bear down a little more.” And she did, turning the Indians aside scoreless for the rest of the game.

Down 2-0 to the bottom of the third, PHS responded with a big inning. Bre Becker singled to lead off. Savanah Buntemeyer reached on a Clearwater misplay. Kelsey Smith-Potter laid down a sac bunt that resulted in all hands being safe and the bases loaded. Dakota Jones, who had numerous big hits in the tourney, then smashed a 2-run double into the LCF gap to get it tied.

“I’m not really sure why I was able to hit the ball so well,” Jones said later. “I haven’t been hitting it much lately, but it was nice to get it done when it counted.”

The rally continued with a Theis single, a Rambat sacrifice fly, and then Hill helped herself capping the rally with an RBI hit.

Pratt continued to pour it on in the fourth stanza, coming up with a 4-run 2-out rally. After the first two Greenbacks were retired, Smith-Potter singled, Jones doubled and Theis singled. Then Destani Garten’s bat— which had been comparatively quiet thus far in the tournament— got real loud. Garten drove one over the left field fence to apply the coup d’ grace. PHS was up 9-2 after three.

From there, it was like the playing out of a Wagnerian opera. The only problem was, the fit and athletic Lady Greenbacks did not have a fat lady who could do the singing.

Nonetheless, with Hill and the Frog defense continuing to turn the Indians aside, Lady Green moved the game toward its methodical conclusion. They added two more runs in the 4th to make it 11-2, and when Bre Becker slid home with a run in the 6th, that activated the run-rule and Pratt could claim its first ever State softball championship. 12-2 over Clearwater in six innings.

“It was a total team effort,” Coach Forshee summarized. “Everyone contributed. We were able to be so successful offensively because everyone had productive at-bats, whether it be getting a hit or laying down a bunt or moving a runner. The kids were awesome!”

Brittnee Hill said, “We (her fellow seniors) have been looking for this since 12-and-under softball. Getting third at State last year made us confident that we could play at this level, but it also made us hungry to get the Championship this year.”