Bremen beats LaVille at Westview
TOPEKA — Even after its last conference win over LaVille, Bremen wasn’t getting ahead of itself in its sectional opener.
The Lady Lions’ plan was simply to get on top and stay there, and they executed that game plan to perfection Monday.
Bremen battled back from an early 1-0 deficit with two runs in the bottom of the first, then tacked on another two in the third for a 4-1 cushion en route to a 7-2 tournament-opening victory at the Class 2A Westview Sectional.
The Lions now advance to face Central Noble — which beat Fremont 11-4 in the nightcap Monday — in a semifinal tonight at 5 p.m. followed by a game between the host Warriors and Prairie Heights. The championship is slated for Thursday at 5 p.m.
“We didn’t get too far ahead of ourselves,” said Bremen head coach Mike Huppert. “You know the cliche, one game at a time. Get ahead and stay ahead; we wanted to put the pressure on them. Now we’ll worry about tomorrow night. We’re going to stay and watch a little bit and see what they’ve got because we haven’t seen either of the teams we might play. They won’t know us, we won’t know them, and it’ll be a whole new game.”
The Lions showed a patient approach against LaVille sophomore pitcher Hannah Herbster, drawing seven walks at the contest, including four during a two-run sixth. Bremen collected seven hits and pressured the Lancers into a pair of errors in the first and sixth frames for the win and the right to advance.
“We’ve been trying to get them to get in position to hit, to get ahead in the count and know the next pitch is going to be a strike,” said Huppert. “If the pitcher’s got control then that’s a pitch that you can hit and put into play. And if we can take a walk, we’ll take a walk.”
Bremen senior pitcher Saylor Bailey had a strong outing going the distance inside the circle, striking out five while surrendering four hits with two walks.
“She got behind a little bit early, but then she got control,” Huppert said of Bailey. “She came back and was throwing her pitch. She was getting that outside corner call, and she can live there and make those work. Five strikeouts, that helps our defense a lot, when she can get at least five.”
“Today we were not able to get timely hits when we needed timely hits, and defensively today, we hurt ourselves with a couple costly errors,” said LaVille coach Scot Shearer. “You can’t do that to good ball teams; when you do that to good ball teams they’re going to end up getting you, and today Bremen got us.”
LaVille started the scoring in the top of the first as Herbster singled on a two-out grounder through the gap at second, and senior battery mate Brittany Norton doubled her home with a hard liner into deep left. Bailey struck out Lancers designated hitter Bridget Craft — her second K of the frame — to leave Norton stranded in scoring position.
The Lions answered back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning.
Junior short stop Megan Stouder drew her first of three walks for the night in the leadoff spot then advanced on a sacrifice bunt from freshman third baseman Brooke Fitch, and senior second baseman Kailee Feldman drove Stouder home on a flare into shallow center. Feldman moved to second on a groundout to third by junior first baseman Taylor Lashbrook, and she scored on an error at second when senior left fielder Katie Fraine put the ball in play with two outs to give Bremen a 2-1 lead before Herbster induced a groundout by Lions freshman catcher Rachael Czarnecki to end the threat with two on.
Bremen added two more in the bottom of the third inning to stretch its lead to 4-1.
Fitch, Feldman and Lashbrook cranked out three straight singles with one out. Lashbrook’s fly down the right field line scored Fitch and moved Feldman to third, setting the table for Feldman score on a brownout to third by Fraine. Czarnecki drew a walk, and Lashbrook reached third on a wild pitch, but senior designated hitter Shannon Jordan popped out to Herbster for the frame’s third out.
LaVille cut into the lead with another run in the top of the fourth as Herbster led off with a fly to left that was misplayed off Fraine’s glove as she moved in on it, allowing Herbster to reach third and setting the stage for Norton’s sacrifice fly to left that cut the deficit to 4-2. Sophomore center fielder Autumn Slough and freshman first baseman Lynae Hostrawser drew a pair of two-out walks to load the bags, but Bailey and the Bremen defense got out of the jam when junior left fielder Sydney Cannon flew out to left to retire the side.
“I’m proud of the way our kids battled. For the most part we put the ball in play, we forced them to make a play, which was good to see,” said Shearer.
Bremen put up another run for good measure in the bottom of the inning as Stouder outlasted Herbster on a six-pitch at-bat for a two-out walk, and Fitch tripled her home with a fly to deep center on an 0-1 offering.
The Lions scored their final two runs in the sixth as Jordan and senior right fielder Brittany Grove drew back-to-back walks, and both scored on senior center fielder Allison Shorter’s single into right and a fielding error by Lancers freshman Kendra Borton. Stouder and Fitch drew two more walks to load the bases with no outs, but Feldman popped up an infield fly, and Lashbrook and Fraine fanned back to back to leave the pillows packed.
LaVille went down in order in the top of the seventh to end its season at 12-13.
The Lancers bid goodbye to seniors Ingle and Norton, moving on to play college ball at Ancilla and Olivet Nazarene, respectively. Both leave big shoes for the team to fill next season.
“Our catcher today at least tied the school record for doubles. She either tied it or broke it, I’ll have to check,” said Shearer. “Then our short stop, she separated her shoulder during the John Glenn game, and she was out the last eight games. She’s still not 100 percent, and she still came out today, and they played the way we expect two seniors to play… Val Ingle, she set the career record for batting average at .395 and broke the school record with 105 hits over her career. She’s definitely set the standard for some of our kids to reach. They did a great job, and we’re going to miss those two.”
• BREMEN 7, LaVILLE 2
At Class 2A Westview Sectional
LaVille: 100 100 0 — 2 4 2
Bremen: 202 102 x — 7 7 1
WP: Saylor Bailey; LP: Hannah Herbster
2B: Brittany Norton (L)
3B: Brooke Fitch (B)
Records: Bremen12-16, LaVille 12-13 (final)