The folks up in Topeka weren’t too kind to the Newton High School softball team when putting together the brackets for the Class 5A state tournament, which begins Friday at Hummer Sports Park in Topeka.

The folks up in Topeka weren’t too kind to the Newton High School softball team when putting together the brackets for the Class 5A state tournament, which begins Friday at Hummer Sports Park in Topeka.
The 15-7 Railers were given the eighth seed and will face top-seeded and unbeaten St. Thomas Aquinas at 5 p.m. Friday.
Aquinas, 20-0, won the state title two years ago.
“We’re ready to play ball,” Newton coach Mike Boston said. “We’ve been working hard. It’s been tough the last couple of days, with the heat and humidity, to keep the girls focused. I think they’re tired of practice and ready to play. They’re also excited about school being out and ready for summer, but they are doing what they need to do.”
Aquinas had a relatively easy path to state, getting a regional semifinal bye and beating rival Bishop Miege 5-0 in the championship game.
Newton run-ruled Liberal 10-0 in five innings in the regional semifinals and stopped Hutchinson 2-1 in eight innings.
“We felt rather fortunate to be able to host our regional,” Mike Boston said. “We had seven losses. There were some teams that went 16-3 and had to travel.”
The Saints have given up just 15 runs this season, posting 10 shutouts, The Saints have allowed just two runs in the last six games.
“Aquinas has a lot of team speed,” Mike Boston said. “They have a lot of slappers. They do a lot of bunting. They are very similar to (Newton second baseman-pitcher) Jenna Rangel. Our defense is going to have to play very well. We’re going to have to get to the ball quickly and make the play.”
Boston said as the eighth seed, the Railers have a chance to surprise.
“Nobody is expecting us to have a chance,” Mike Boston said. “If teams look past us and we play well, we have a chance to win.”
Aquinas was bounced out of the tournament last year by eventual champion Andover Central 2-0.
If Newton gets past the Saints, the Railers come back Saturday morning for a semifinal game against either 18-3 Arkansas City or 18-4 Bishop Carroll.
Ark City, 18-3, won the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division II title over Newton, winning the games 8-2 and 3-1. The Bulldogs won the state title in 2007.
Bishop Carroll, 18-4, lost just two games in Wichita City League play. Bishop Carroll last won state in 2004. The Eagles took fourth at state last year.
Bishop Carroll is led by Kelsey Jones, who is batting .612 with three home runs and 24 RBIs. Pitcher Megan Wilson is 9-2 with a save, a 1.54 earned-run-average and 109 strikeouts.
“If we get by Friday, I’ll be happy to play anybody,” Mike Boston said. “We’d like to get another shot at Arkansas City on a neutral site. Bishop Carroll is a good team as well.”
On the opposite side of the bracket, Andale-Garden Plain (21-1) takes on Mill Valley (16-4) while Topeka Seaman (19-3) faces Salina South (18-4).
Newton played Salina South early in the season, losing 6-2 and 13-0. South beat Newton 1-0 in last year’s regional final.
Andale-Garden Plain won the Class 4A title two years ago and is Class 5A defending runner-up.
“I know about Salina South and I know about Andale,” Mike Boston said. “I don’t know a whole lot about the northeast Kansas teams like Mill Valley. I have some friends up there who have given me scouting reports. A lot of those teams have a lot of club players, so they know how to play ball.”
The Railers have been led at the plate this season by Rangel, who is hitting .515 with 27 runs scored, 34 hits and six RBIs. Erin Boston is batting .476 with a home run, 34 RBIs, three triples and seven doubles. Brittney Dymnioski is hitting .409 with four home runs, 26 RBIs, 20 runs scored, two triples and nine doubles.
Several hitters coming on late in the season are Logan Duerksen at .339 with seven doubles; Erin Mosiman at .255 with a home run, 15 RBIs and two triples; Jade Southern at .276 with a home run and three doubles; and Maddie Pendry at .353 with 16 runs scored.
On the mound, Duerksen is 9-2 with a 1.79 ERA. Duerksen has allowed 27 hits and 25 walks while striking out 69. Southern is 4-3 with a 5.12 ERA. Southern has allowed 53 hits with 20 walks and 44 strikeouts. Rangel is 2-2 with a 7.60 ERA. Rangel has given up 52 hits with six walks and 20 strikeouts.


State softball rosters

Newton Railers
2 Jenna Rangel, 2B-P, so.
4 Staci Ensz, OF-MI, so.
5 Olivia Miller, SS, jr.
7 Madison Pendry, 2B-OF, so.
9 Cassoday Harder, P-U, so.
12 Brittney Dymnioski, 3B-1B-OF, jr.
13 Erica Phillips, OF, jr.
13 Ramona Yoder, OF, sr.
16 Logan Duerksen, P-OF, sr.
17 Katie Sorensen, 3B-OF, fr.
20 Kylie Sturgeon, 1B, jr.
21 Maisie Pryce, OF-3B, jr.
31 Jade Southern, 1B-P, jr.
32 Erin Mosiman, OF-C, sr.
33 Erin Boston, C-1B, sr.
Coach — Mike Boston. Assistants — Elizabeth Gunn, Kirsten Horton.


St. Thomas Aquinas
5 Ellen Drummond, SS, sr.
7 Katelyn Nill, UT- P, sr.
45 Andrea Piezuch, OF, sr.
14 Kellie White, P-1B, sr.
11 Jenna Boutte, IF- C, jr.
16 Lauren Thimmesch, 1B-P, jr.
10 Cassie Plummer, 1B-P, jr.
2 Paige Mason, OF, so.
3 Katie Pascuzzi, OF, so.
8 Molly Bernard,  OF-IF, so.
12 Lexie Zuniga, C, fr.
1 Amy Peacock, OF, fr.
Coach — Chris Orel
Assistant Coaches — Craig Drummond and Kerri Jennings