Brian Johnson Special Correspondent
Shawnee — Eleventh-ranked Rock Creek cranked out six home runs, including a pair of grand slams from leadoff batter Kaytlin Blackburn, in eliminating top-ranked Stonewall from the Class 2A state slow-pitch softball semifinals, 25-13, Wednesday at the Firelake Softball Complex.
Blackburn’s first grand slam came in the second inning, and her four-run blast in the sixth ended the game on the run rule as she finished 5-for-5 from the plate with eight runs batted in.
“It’s hard to defend the home run. Our team is built on good defense, but when you run out of real estate there is not much you can do,” said Stonewall head coach Brian Davis. “We went with a little different lineup and tried to make it stronger. Most of the time, when you score 13 runs, you win the game.”
Which obviously wasn’t the case on Wednesday.
The Lady Longhorns, who concluded the season at 31-12, had 13 hits, but it wasn’t enough to counter the explosiveness of the Lady Mustang offense. Of Rock Creek’s 22 hits, 12 went for extra-base hits (six doubles in addition to the six homers). The Lady Mustangs had at least one home run in each inning except for the fifth, when the team had its only scoreless inning.
“When we scouted them, we knew they hit a lot of fly balls, and I think the wind played into it as well,” Davis said.
Seven of the 11 Rock Creek players in the starting lineup had at least two hits. Michaela Stinson went 4-for-4 with three RBIs and a double, while Carol Scott and Michele Wheeler ended up with three hits apiece. Macy Eiler, Ashlynn Robinson, Harlie Heflin and Wheeler also homered for the Lady Mustangs.
Stonewall showed some explosiveness of its own, with the big inning being a seven-run second. The Lady Longhorns had five hits in the inning and were helped by two Lady Mustang errors. Stonewall scored in every inning but the sixth.
Tana Davis went 3-for-4 with a double, while Allie Denson (2-for-3 with a double), Alexis Lambert (2-for-4 with two RBIs) and Lauryn Humphers (2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs) produced big for Stonewall. Tameka Hamilton hit a three-run triple in the fifth for the Lady Longhorns’ final scores.
Stonewall struck first with a run in the first off a Humphers’ RBI single, but Eiler’s two-run homer in the bottom half of that inning made it 2-1.
The Lady Longhorns then went on their seven-run scoring barrage in the second, highlighted by a double apiece from Denson and Humphers, whose two-bagger drove in a pair of runs. Again, Rock Creek countered with five in the second to pull within 8-7 and took the lead for good with a five-run third to go up for good, 12-9.
A seven-run fourth, highlighted by Heflin’s three-run blast, enabled the Lady Mustangs to get some more breathing room at 19-10.
The silver lining in the gray cloud for Stonewall is that every player is expected back next season.
“We have no seniors and only three juniors. We don’t call them the ‘Diaper Gang’ for nothing,” said Davis.
Wednesday, May 7
CLASS 2A STATE
At Fields at Firelake • Shawnee
Rock Creek 25, Stonewall 13
STONEWALL 171 130 — 13 13 2
ROCK CREEK 255 706 — 25 22 3
Katelyn Campise and Tameka Hamilton; Michaela Stinson and Karrie Blackburn. WP – Stinson, LP – Campise. HR – Kaytlin Blackburn 2, Ashlynn Robinson, Macy Eiler, Harlie Heflin, Michele Wheeler (RC). 3B – Hamilton (S). 2B – Tana Davis, Lauryn Humphers, Allie Denson (S). Carol Scott 2, Kaytlin Blackburn, Wheeler, Karrie Blackburn, Stinson (RC). HL – Tana Davis 3-4; Allie Denson 2-3; Lauryn Humphers 2-4, 3 RBIs; Alexis Lambert 2-4, 2 RBIs; Jessika York 1-1, 2 BB; Sarah Monday 1-2, 1 BB; Justice Dees 1-3, 1 BB; Hamilton 1-3, 3 RBIs (S). Kaytlin Blackburn 5-5, 8 RBIs; Stinson 4-4, 3 RBIs; Scott 3-3, 2 RBIs; Wheeler 3-4, 3 RBIs; Karrie Blackburn 2-3, SF, 1 RBI; Eiler 2-4, 3 RBIs; Heflin 2-4, 3 RBIs; Ashlynn Robinson 1-2, 1 RBI (RC).