Kansas Jayhawk Conference play opened with the Labette Cardinals damning the No. 19 Kansas City Kansas Blue Devils with a sweep. The Cardinals took the first game in run-rule fashion, 10-2, before winning the second contest 5-2.
Labette raced out ahead in Game 1 with five runs in the first inning.
“Game 1 got out of hand in a hurry,” Labette head coach Ryan Phillips said. “They made a couple of mistakes and it was hard for them to recover. KCK is a great team that has one of the greatest coaches at our level. But we took advantage of mistakes they made early. It was huge to come out of this with two wins over one of the better teams in the conference.”
The Cardinals’ bats were hot in both games. Grey Holland launched two home runs and tallied five RBI. Winter Snyder, Halle Boyd and Coralys Santiago-Pomales also homered in the series for Labette.
Kansas City Kansas only recorded eight strikeouts of Labette hitters, including just two in Game 1.
“We’ve seen a lot of good pitching in non-conference play,” Phillips said. “Being able to see that, we’re able to get some good reads at the plate. Our mindset is being on the plane and even if we’re off on our timing, we can hit balls hard. Technically, we swung the bat well and didn’t have to utilize the short game as much.”
Jadeyn Wyrick got the winning decision in Game 1 while Layney Steging, who appeared in relief in both games, got the win in Game 2.
Steging squashed a last-ditch rally from the Blue Devils in Game 1 before taking over in the fourth frame in Game 2. Over 14 recorded outs for Steging, she didn’t allow a run and struck out five batters.
“She’s a kid that’s tough and gritty and throws strikes,” Phillips said. “Her ball moves a ton. She set up hitters really well today by spotting her pitches inside and out. She also changed speeds well. She struck out several really good hitters that can drive a ball in the inner half with screwballs inside because she set them up.”
Labette’s defense, a hinderance early this season, shined in Game 2 as Kansas City Kansas scored two runs despite notching 13 hits.
“Our defense played very well,” Phillips said. “We showed signs of what we can do. That’s our mindset is to get tough outs.”
The Cardinals face St. Charles (Mo.) on Sunday and Butler on Tuesday before returning to conference play with a series against Johnson County on Thursday. All three series are at home.
“We’ve got to be able to see how we respond in back-to-back days,” Phillips said. “There’s a big significance in how we can respond to two huge conference wins. Hopefully we look at some different options to see what we can do to make ourselves even better.”
Kansas City Kansas saw its record dip to 12-4 with the losses while Labette improved to 10-6.
“We put the name of Labette softball back to where we once have been,” Phillips said. “We have a chance to beat anybody on any given day. KCK has great athletes and they’re fundamentally sound. But our team played tremendously. I’m sure other teams will look at film of this. But we just have to play and let the cards fall where they may.”
LABETTE VS. NO. 19 KANSAS CITY KANSAS
Labette 10, No. 19 Kansas City Kansas 2
Kansas City Kansas: 000 02 — 2
Labette: 530 02 — 10
Labette: Morgan Schmidt 2 H, 2 R; Keira Jackson 1 H, 2 R; Grey Holland 3 H, 2 R, 4 RBI; Coralys Santiago-Pomales 1 H, 1 R, 1 RBI; Halle Boyd 2 H, 1 R; Winter Snyder 3 H, 1 R, 4 RBI; Karlee Kinder 1 H; Makayla Davis 1 R; Jadeyn Wyrick (W) 4.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K; Layney Steging 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K
Kansas City Kansas: Maynard 1 H; Purcell 1 H, 1 RBI; Maurer 1 RBI; Faunt 1 H; Daughtery 1 R; Seichepine 1 R; Droge (L) 1 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 0 K; Elson 2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB; Reynolds 1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
Labette 5, No. 19 Kansas City Kansas 2
Kansas City Kansas: 001 100 0 — 2
Labette: 111 002 x — 5
Labette: Morgan Schmidt 1 R; Keira Jackson 1 H; Grey Holland 1 H, 1 R, 1 RBI; Coralys Santiago-Pomales 1 H, 1 R, 2 RBI; Halle Boyd 1 H, 1 R, 1 RBI; Winter Snyder 1 H; Sunny Crawford 1 R; Layney Steging (W) 4 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K; Katelyn Kotlarz 3 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
Kansas City Kansas: Maynard 2 H, 1 R, 1 RBI; Maurer 2 H, 1 R, 1 RBI; Basler 1 H; Rymer 1 H; Gettle 3 H; Howe 1 H; Pope 1 H, Daugherty 2 H; Basler (L) 6 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K