Labette notched another sweep in Kansas Jayhawk Conference play on Thursday, narrowly defeating the Kansas City Kansas Blue Devils twice 2-1, 3-2.
Cardinals first baseman Grey Holland launched a walk-off home run in Game 1 that soared over the center field wall. That was just one of four hits Labette managed offensively in the first game — Payton Nigh blasted a solo homer in the first inning as well.
“Grey has done a good job of trying to make adjustments throughout her swing,” Labette head coach Ryan Phillips said. “She had a great offensive practice yesterday. Going into the seventh, Coach (Emilee) Vance and I were talking about that, and we told her to take the same approach into the box. She squared a ball up and let it go out.”
The Cardinals also got their ace back in the circle in Game 1 as Victoria Gonzales, who hadn’t appeared since the Coffeyville series on April 6, went the complete game. Gonzales was charged with two hits and one earned run with five walks and two strikeouts.
Haylee Van Deventer got the win in Game 2 in the circle for Labette, allowing three hits and one earned run over a complete game effort.
“They did a great job of just keeping Kansas City Kansas off balance and letting our defense work,” Phillips said. “With Lindzi (Pellock) throwing 11 innings the other day against Butler, we wanted to give her the day off. Now we have three pitchers going into next week that are fresh and coming off great performances.”
Audrey Miller and Kaelyn Davis had two hits in Game 2, with Davis adding two RBI to her day’s tally.
The sweep for Labette improves its record to 19-17 overall and 12-6 in KJCCC play. Kansas City Kansas dropped to 32-16 and 11-7 respectively. The Cardinals now sit in fifth place in the conference standings.
“It was vital for us,” Phillips said. “Four or five teams are sitting right near each other in the standings. Kansas City Kansas is a very well-coached program. So coming out with a sweep is huge. It gives us two big wins against a great team.”
Labette has one more KJCCC series left on its slate as the Cardinals travel to Iola to face Allen next Thursday.
“I just want to see us come out and produce,” Phillips said. “We need to sellout. We know what we need to do productively at the plate and with our pitching. We need to set the tone going into the postseason.”
Cardinals win protest from Hesston series
Labette received word from KJCCC commissioner Carl Heinrich that a protest filed by Phillips during Game 2 of the Cardinals series at Hesston on April 10 was upheld.
As a result, Labette now has the option to replay the game from the point of the protest. The Cardinals led the game 3-2 in the top of the third inning with runners at second and third when Phillips filed the protest.
“We’ve got to figure out if and when we can get it in,” Phillips said. “If it’s a situation where we don’t move anywhere in the standings, it won’t make sense for us to drive four hours to play five innings.”
Labette ended up losing the game 10-4. If the game were made up before Labette’s next series against Allen and the Cardinals won, Labette would jump into a potential three-way tie for second place in the KJCCC. The top three seeds at the end of the regular season get a bye into the second round of the Region VI Tournament in Topeka.
LABETTE VS. KANSAS CITY KANSAS
Labette 2, Kansas City Kansas 1
Kansas City Kansas: 001 000 0 — 1
Labette: 100 000 1 — 2
Labette: Payton Nigh 1 H, 1 R, 1 RBI; Julia Hawkins 1 H; Grey Holland 1 H, 1 R, 1 RBI; Jaylen Hayward 1 H; Victoria Gonzales (W) 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 2 K
Kansas City Kansas: Hannah Redick 1 H; Jennica Messer 1 H; Britney Smith 1 R; Shaylun Grosstephan (L) 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K
Labette 3, Kansas City Kansas 2
Kansas City Kansas: 010 000 1 — 2
Labette: 012 000 X — 3
Labette: Payton Nigh 1 R; Audrey Miller 2 H, 1 R; Julia Hawkins 1 RBI; Grey Holland 1 H, 1 R; Kaelyn Davis 2 H, 2 RBI; Rindy Marquez 1 H; Haylee Van Deventer (W) 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
Kansas City Kansas: Devin Purcell 1 H; Shaylun Grosstephan 1 H; Mackenzie Pinkerton 1 R; Alaina Howe 1 R; Brittney Beck 1 H; Pinkterton (L) 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K