Pirates beat Culdesac for State title
The third time was a charm as the Prairie softball team beat Culdesac 15-3 in the state 1-A softball championship game Saturday, May 19 at Lewiston.
In Friday’s action Prairie had beaten Rimrock 5-1 and Culdesac 12-0 to reach the championship game.
This was the third straight year Prairie and Culdesac had played for the state title with Culdesac coming out on top the past two years.
Rimrock took the lead in the opening inning when Prairie pitcher Meghan VanderPas fought some nerves and rustiness from a 10-day layoff since the district championship game.
VanderPas got 2 quick outs then Rimrock’s Kaile Murray singled to left. Prairie should have gotten out of the inning with the next batter but an attempted force at second resulted in an error. A walk followed to load the bases and a hit batsman forced in a run. VanderPas got out of the inning with a flyball out to Hilaree VanderPas in left.
Prairie bounced right back in the bottom of the first. Kara Guyer reached on an error and Meghan VanderPas walked. Both runners scored on Brooke Holthaus’ 2-out double to left center.
After the rocky first inning, VanderPas allowed just 5 baserunners the rest of the game on 3 walks and 2 errors.
The closest Rimrock came to scoring was in the sixth inning. The leadoff hitter walked and moved around to third on a pair of groundouts. The next batter lined a shot toward right field but second baseman Rachel Kaschmitter was able to glove it for an out and preserve Prairie’s 1-run lead.
A crazy play erased Rimrock’s baserunner in the fourth inning. With out the batter reached on an error. Brooke Holthaus then threw to first on a pickoff play but the ball sailed over first baseman Kim Schaeffer’s head with the runner taking off for second. The throw went right to Tiffany Schaeffer in right field and she threw the runner out at second. The way the throw went right to Tiffany it looked almost like a planned play. When coach Travis Mader was asked about it after the game he wouldn’t say it was planned that way but that they had worked on something like that in practice. Just in case the throw got away of course.
Meanwhile Prairie wasn’t putting any runs on the board either. They appeared to have a run in the third inning when Guyer led off with a single and went to second when the left fielder’s throw back to the infield got away for an error. She went to third on a passed ball and then appeared to score when Brooke Holthaus flew out to left field. Guyer was called out though on an appeal play for leaving third before the catch was made.
In the bottom of the sixth Prairie finally got to Chandler for some insurance runs. Hilaree VanderPas led off the inning with a double to right center. Carolyn Sonnen went in as a pinch runner. After a popout and a groundout, Kylie Uhlorn grounded one through the legs of the third baseman for an error that scored Sonnen. Kim Schaeffer then blooped a single to short right field. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Kaschmitter then blooped a single almost to the same spot as Schaeffer with both runners scoring. The inning ended when Kaschmitter tried to go to second on the play and was called out.
Meghan VanderPas put Rimrock down in order in the 7th to give Prairie a 5-1 win.
She allowed just 1 hit with 4 walks, a hit batsman and 4 strikeouts.
Prairie had 6 hits with Hilaree VanderPas and Brooke Holthaus each collecting a double while Guyer had 2 singles and Kim Schaeffer and Kaschmitter each had a single. Hilaree VanderPas and Kaschmitter each had 2 RBI.
Rimrock 1 0 0 0 0 0 0—1 1 3
Prairie 2 0 0 0 0 3 x—5 6 3
As in the Rimrock game the Vanderpas had a rocky first inning as Culdesac had runners on 1st and 2nd with only 1 out after a pair of singles. After a strikeout a third single loaded the bases but the next batter grounded to Kaschmitter at second and she threw the batter out at first. Culdesac managed only 3 baserunners the rest of the game with only 1 of those getting as far as second base.
Prairie added a run in the third inning when Guyer led off the inning with a flyball to right that was dropped for an error. She scored on Hilaree Vanderpas’ double to left.
In the fourth Kim Schaeffer, Kaschmitter and Tiffany Schaeffer received consecutive walks after there was 1 out to load the bases. Guyer then lined out to pitcher Danielle Pulley. Pulley tried to double Kim Schaeffer off third and threw the ball past the third baseman with Schaeffer scoring to make it 6-0.
Prairie put the game away in the top of the sixth when they sent 10 batters to the plate.
Kim Schaeffer was walked to lead off the inning and Kaschmitter reached on an error. Tiffany Schaeffer was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Guyer then unloaded the bases with a 3-run double over the rightfielder’s head.
Hilaree VanderPas singled up the middle to score Guyer with Alena Hoene going in as a pinch-runner. Brooke Holthaus followed with a double to left. Hoene had to hold up as there was a chance the ball would’ve been caught. Hoene scored when Alli Holthaus grounded to short with the play being made on Tabitha Seubert at second who had gone in as a courtesy runner for Brooke Holthaus. Alli went to second on an errant pickoff throw and scored when Sonnen singled up the middle to make it 12-0.
VanderPas gave up 5 singles with no walks and 7 strikeouts.
Prairie meanwhile had 8 hits with Guyer and Hilaree VanderPas each having a double and single; Tiffany Schaeffer aand Brooke Holthaus a double each and Sonnen and Kim Schaeffer a single each.
Prairie 4 0 1 1 0 6—12 8 1
Culdesac 0 0 0 0 0 0— 0 5 6
Prairie added a run in the second when Hilaree VanderPas reached on a 2-base error and scored on Brooke Holthaus’ single up the middle.
Culdesac got their first runs in 3 games against Prairie in the third when a walk and 2 singles loaded the bases with nobody out. A sacrifice fly scored one run and a single scored 2 more to cut the lead to 8-3.
That was it for Culdesac though as VanderPas allowed only 1 more baserunner in the final two innings.
Prairie added 3 more runs in the fourth inning as Guyer led off with a single. Meghan VanderPas followed with a high fly ball to straightaway centerfield. The ball fell beyond the centerfielder just as she crashed through the fence. After the two umpires discussed what they saw and what they thought happened, VanderPas was awarded a 2-run homer.
Hilaree VanderPas followed with a high fly to left that was drop for a 2-base error. Brooke Holthaus followed with an infield single that moved VanderPas to third. Sonnen went in again as a courtesy runner. She took off for second and when the throw went to second, VanderPas headed for home and scored to make it 11-3 after 4 innings.
In the top of the fifth Kaschmitter led off with a walk. Tiffany Schaeffer followed with a bunt single and Kaschmitter managed to get all the way from first to third on the play. Guyer singled home Kaschmitter and Tiffany scored on Meghan VanderPas’ sacrifice fly to center. Hilaree VanderPas popped up to short but the ball was dropped for an error. Brooke Holthaus followed with her fourth hit of the game, scoring Guyer. Alli Holthaus singled to score Hilaree and make it 15-3.
In the bottom of the fifth Culdesac got their leadoff hitter on due to an error but a strikeout, popup to the pitcher and a groundout to short the game ended on the 10-run mercy rule and Prairie had their first softball state championship.
VanderPas allowed 3 runs on 6 hits with 1 walk and 5 strikeouts.
Meanwhile Prairie pounded out 17 hits with everyone in the starting lineup collecting at least 1 hit.
Brooke Holthaus led the way with a double and 3 singles and 3 RBI. Alli Holthaus had a double and 2 singles and 2 RBI. Guyer had 3 singles. Kim Schaeffer had a double and a single. Meghan VanderPas had a homer and 3 RBI. Hilaree VanderPas had a double and 2 RBI and Tiffany Schaeffer, Uhlorn and Kaschmitter each had a single.
For the tournament Brooke Holthaus and Guyer were each 6 for 11 for a .545 average to lead the team in hitting.
Prairie outscored their opponents 32-4 in the 3 games.
With the wins Prairie ends their season with a 27-2 record and 22 straight victories.
Prairie 7 1 0 3 4—15 17 1
Culdesac 0 0 3 0 0— 3 6 3
Hilaree VanderPas connects for a double. She and Brooke Holthaus each had 6 hits to lead the team at state.
Meghan VanderPas is about to connect in the championship game.
The Lady Pirates with the State championship trophy and wearing their state medals. Kneeling from left are Rachel Kaschmitter, Carolyn Sonnen, Kylie Uhlorn, Meghan VanderPas, Tabitha Seubert, Alena Hoene and Carly Behler. Back from left are coach Steve Wilson, Leora Laurino, Justina Mader, Samantha Spencer, Camille Schumacher, Kim Schaeffer, Hilaree VanderPas, Alli Holthaus, Tiffany Schaeffer, Kara Guyer, Brooke Holthaus and head coach Travis Mader.