Freshman keys senior night celebration
De Soto shortstop Jordin Burford was already worthy of mention near the top of this article based on her play through the first 13 of Tuesday's 14 innings of softball against Eudora.
Her game-winning bottom-of-the-seventh-inning RBI double assured it, however.
Burford, a freshman, helped deliver De Soto a senior night surprise Tuesday as the Cats blasted past Eudora in the second game of a double header, 3-2.
"It felt amazing. It just felt amazing just to get it out there," Burford said of the win which snapped a seven-game losing streak. "All out hits came together. We hit and fielded well and we knew we had to win this one."
De Soto lost the first game against Eudora 8-0 and fell late last week to Baldwin twice, 7-5 and 4-0, and to Spring Hill and Gardner once, 5-1 and 10-6, respectively. The rough stretch all seemed like a distant memory as Katie Williams rounded third base and dashed for home after Burford's smash.
Burford capped a two-run, three-hit game with the double. She first scored in the third inning after leading off with a single, then scored De Soto's other run of the game in the fifth after a well-hit ball ricocheted off the Eudora shortstop's glove and into left field.
Williams led the seventh off with a hard-hit single of her own and advanced to second when Eudora threw the ball away after catching her stealing.
As Burford's ball sailed far over the catcher's head and split the left and center fielders, the dugout erupted and the team spilled onto the field, colliding with Williams after she crossed the plate and won the game.
"We're a rebound team," senior catcher Kegan Cronin said. "We've been good at coming back. We've been in the cages a lot recently and that's really helped our batting."
Burford and Williams made the winning combination, but up and down the lineup the Cats enjoyed a solid day of hitting.
Kira Gonzalez followed up Burford's third-inning hit with a single, and Meagan Bliss put the ball in play behind her, eventually leading to Burford's first run.
Kegan Cronin smashed a hard single into left field in the fourth inning and Megan Sterling came through with a hit, though the Cats couldn't get runs out of that inning.
Bliss came through with another key hit in the fifth, dropping an RBI single into short right field and helping De Soto tie the game, 2-2.
Three runs doesn't a powerhouse make, but given the slump the Cats had been in and given the boost it delivered the team, De Soto was thrilled to take a rare win over Eudora.
"Jordin hit the ball hard and they all did," Fletcher said. "It went all the way down -- they were all hitting it.
"We needed that. They're real excited."
The Cats, 5-12, hope to squeeze one final set of makeup games in before Monday's regional tournament begins. De Soto will play Prairie View Thursday at home before traveling to Basehor Monday for the regional tournament.