Through five and a half innings of Friday’s Class 3A softball state championship game, neither team had been able to scratch a run across the plate.
Cheney’s Jailyn Adolph changed that with one swing in the bottom of the sixth. Adolph, a freshman, launched the ball over the center field fence for a solo home run.
It wasn’t just the first run of the game — ultimately, it was the only one.
After some seventh-inning drama, Cheney pitcher Korri Lies put the finishing touches on her complete-game shutout and gave her squad a 1-0 victory over Silver Lake at the Twin Oaks Complex.
For the Cardinals, the one-run win won’t soon be forgotten. That’s because of its historic nature: It gave Cheney (25-1) its first state softball title in school history.
The championship didn’t come easy.
Though the Cardinals entered the tournament as the top seed by virtue of their record, they had to rally from a 5-1 deficit against Rock Creek in their opening game Thursday to take a 6-5 victory. In their semifinal Friday morning, they jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning over Hoisington High. Though Hoisington never led, it never went away, either. Cheney eventually felled Hoisington — another Cardinal-nicknamed school — by a score of 4-2.
That win set up a matchup with Silver Lake in the championship tilt.
State titles are old hat to the Eagles, who have 13 in their illustrious history, including four (2013, 2014, 2015 and 2018) in the past decade alone.
They didn’t add to their haul Friday, however.
That’s because of Lies’ efforts in the circle.
She wasn’t perfect — she allowed seven hits — but she was good enough to keep Silver Lake (22-4) off the board. Lies threw a whopping 108 pitches, 51 more than her counterpart from Silver Lake, Avery Wende, who tossed 57 pitches.
Lies’ finished with seven strikeouts and just one walk; Wende, who took the loss after throwing all six innings, gave up nine hits to go along with a pair of strikeouts and a walk.
Lies, and the Cardinals’ defense, had to be at its best at the end to avoid extending the game.
After starting the seventh with a groundout, Wende singled to get on base. She immediately walked off the field and was replaced by Reagan Money, a courtesy runner. Lies struck out Kaibryn Kruger for Out 2. But then Ellington Hogle doubled, and Money wasted no time rounding the bases in search of Silver Lake’s first (and a potential game-tying) run.
It wasn’t to be.
Cheney made a highlight-reel defensive play to nab Money at home plate for the game’s final out.
Hoisington topped Haven, 8-7, in the third-place game.