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HHS softball swept by Garden City

By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

Senior Night didn't end the way the Hays High School softball team wanted it to, but head coach Abby Maska said it won't tarnish their career in any way.

Garden City (14-3, 7-1 Western Athletic Conference) swept the Indians in their final league doubleheader on Tuesday at Dusty Glassman Ball Park. Hays High lost 13-2 and 13-4.

The Indians (10-8, 4-4 WAC) avoided the run rule in both games, but the second game was called in the top of the seventh inning due to an approaching thunderstorm.

"Obviously, on Senior Night, you'd like to get wins for your seniors," Maska said. "I don't know if we've ever been shut out on Senior Night since I've been a coach here, so it's a little bit disappointing, but these girls have had great careers."

Senior Night showcased two four-year starters, center fielder Courtney Storer and first baseman Shea Briggs; a three-year starter who transferred in as a sophomore, shortstop Katelyn Schumacher; and outfielder Kendahl Garrett, who hasn't seen much varsity action but played in right field in Game 1.

These seniors have experienced quite a bit of success, including three winning seasons (not counting 2013), two 20-plus win seasons and two state tournament appearances.

"These four years have been amazing on this team, especially my sophomore and junior years going to state with those girls," Briggs said. "It's been the best experience ever."

Against Garden City, the Indians had a tough time with the Buffaloes' standout sophomore Dusti Befort.

With a share of the WAC championship on the line, Befort pitched both games, stifling the Indians' offense.

Befort (9-1), who didn't play against Hays High last year, threw mostly fastballs, but they were high-velocity fastballs.

Befort's best game was the first one. She allowed two earned runs off six hits and two walks while striking out nine.

In the second game, she struggled more with her control, walking four and hitting two Hays High batters with pitches. However, she still managed to contain the Indians to four runs, all earned, off seven hits while striking out five.

"We didn't know too much about her coming in, but she did a nice job, threw hard and really didn't seem to have much movement on her ball," Maska said.

"But she kept it away from our hitters and, with a lot of the girls in our lineup, blew it right by them."

Then at the plate, Befort pounded the ball, hitting 7 of 10 with eight RBIs and two home runs.

Garden City, as a whole, hit extremely well, finishing 14 of 36 in Game 1 and 19 of 37 in Game 2.

Freshman Madison Prough (6-6) started each game but got lit up twice. She allowed nine runs, four earned, off 11 hits and four walks in 3.1 innings in the first game, and in Game 2, she surrendered 13 runs, 10 earned, off 19 hits and six walks while striking out two in seven innings.

Sophomore Jenna Luebbers relieved Prough in the first game and did well at first, but late in the game, Garden City managed to hit off her. Luebbers threw 3.2 innings and gave up four earned runs off three hits and two walks while striking out one.

"I think we were making their lineup maybe look even better than they normally do," Maska said.

Schumacher and Briggs had the squad's best performances offensively.

Schumacher hit 4 of 8 in the doubleheader with a triple, two runs scored and an RBI. Briggs finished 3 of 8 with a double and a run scored.

Garden City was up big halfway through each game, leading 9-2 after four in Game 1 and 8-4 after four in Game 2, which made it difficult for the Indians to mount a comeback.

"They got ahead by a lot in a couple of those innings, and there's nothing you can do but try and work outs and come back with your bats and hopefully score some runs," Briggs said.

Maska said she hoped her squad would rise to the occasion better than it did Tuesday.

"We just never looked in our body language or even in the things we were saying and doing like we wanted to step up to the challenge during some points in the game," she said. "Of course, every girl when she came up to bat was doing her best to put the ball in play, but it seemed like the last four games, we've lacked the extra effort and killer instinct at times."

The Indians will end the regular season with a doubleheader Friday at Salina Central. It is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.