The Frontenac Raiders were simply overpowered by the Pratt Greenbacks during a 10-4 loss Thursday night in the first round of the Class 4A state tournament at the Bill Burke Complex.
Left-handed pitcher Britnee Hill tossed 13 strikeouts and the Greenbacks relied on three big hits for eight of their 10 runs — Savanah Buntemeyer made the score 2-all with a two-run home run in the third, Kinzie Spurgin gave Pratt a 4-2 lead in the same frame with a two-run double and Bre Becker placed some major distance with a grand slam in the fifth to give the Greenbacks a 8-3 advantage.
The first two innings looked good for the Raiders, as senior pitcher Lindsey Gorham supported herself with a two-run homer in the first and blanked Pratt.
Frontenac could not avoid the two-run and four-run outbursts — Pratt scored four in the third, four in the fifth and two in the seventh.
Buntemeyer (a misleading last name) fell a triple shy of the cycle during a 3-for-5 performance at the plate. Her two-run shot in the third plated Taylar Fuhr, who led off the frame with a single.
Later in the third, Bailey Gillig and Hill reached on singles, placing runners on second and third for Spurgin, who scored both with her double. Spurgin went 3-4 with a double and two singles.
Frontenac pushed across a single run in the fourth. Senior catcher Sam Bonner plated her battery mate Gorham with a RBI single and moved to second on the throw. With two runners in scoring position, Hill buckled down and retired the next two batters to subdue the Raider scoring threat.
With the Raiders right behind them at 4-3, the Greenbacks came through with their biggest inning of the season thus far.
Gillig, Hill and Spurgin loaded the bases with two singles (Gillig, Spurgin) and a walk (Hill), setting up the hero scenario for No. 8 hitter Becker.
Becker drove one up, over and out, as Frontenac senior center fielder Jennifer Long crashed into the temporary fence for the second time in the game on a Greenback home run. Becker showed that both teams featured a balanced lineup.
Frontenac missed scoring opportunities in the fifth and the sixth, leaving behind three runners, two in scoring position and one at third.
The Raiders made a costly throwing error in the seventh, allowing two runs to push the Greenbacks’ lead to 10-3.
Coming into state 20-1 with a senior-laden starting lineup, one (especially Pratt) knew Frontenac would not go quietly into the night. The Raiders held up that end of the bargain on a Long double with one down and a Nayna Fields RBI single plating Long with two outs.
Unfortunately, for the Raiders, Becker — who hit the grand slam — hurt Frontenac with her glove as she caught Gorham’s liner for the last out.
Page 2 of 2 - Frontenac ends its season 20-2 — Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League and regional champions — and its senior class of Lindsey Gorham, Jennifer Long, Nayna Fields, Libby Warrick, Sam Bonner and Ashton Alex finishes its career 75-16 (.824 winning percentage) with two league titles and two regional titles, plus a second-place finish in the 2011 Class 3A state tournament.
Five of the six seniors will be extending their softball careers at the next level — Gorham and Long at Johnson County Community College and Fields, Bonner and Warrick at Labette CC.