Halstead softball squad sweeps

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
Halstead player Brittley Day hits a home run during play Tuesday against Hesston.
Halstead pitcher Emma Boese throws against Hesston during play Tuesday in Hesston. The Dragons swept the rival Swathers.
Hesston player Brynn Johnston makes contact with a pitch during play Tuesday against Halstead.
Hesston shortstop Sophia Walters makes a catch during play Tuesday in the season opener against Halstead.

HESSTON — The Halstead Dragon softball team opened the season by scoring 49 runs in just seven innings, sweeping rival Hesston Tuesday at Carl Boyer Field in Central Kansas League play.

Halstead won the first game 29-10 in four innings on the 15-run rule and the second game 20-4 in three innings.

“We’ve had a lot of indoor practices because of the weather, so we took advantage of our (batting) cage, getting a lot of reps there,” Eileen Vlamis said. “We had one home run in the first and two home runs in the second. I’m really proud of those players. They put a lot hard work in. We had a junior hit one and a senior hit one. They missed last season, so they came hungry. Then we had a freshman hit one.”

“I think there were a few first-game jitters,” Hesston coach Alyssa Kroeker said. “Just people not knowing what their position is in terms of who’s a leader and who’s not a leader. I think that’s what the struggle was tonight. Offensively, we’re pretty set. It comes down to confidence, and we didn’t have a lot of it tonight.” 

The game was the first for either team since May of 2019 because of COVID-19, although many of the players were able to play in the summer.

“We have a few that missed out on the JV season, but we have at least eight that played travel ball,” Vlamis said. “I scheduled maybe seven games to play in the summer to make up for that.”

“We have about four who play club,” Kroeker said.

In the first game, Hesston scored 10 runs in the second inning to take a 17-3 lead.

Mya Morris went the distance pitching for Halstead. Morris also drove in six runs on five hits.

Emma Boese and Payton Divine each drove in four runs. Brittley Day drove in three runs. Emma Boese, Lauren Cardwell and Rylee Carmichael each drove in two runs.

Justice Large went two for three hitting with two RBIs.

Meg Werner took the loss for the Swathers.

In the second game, Hesston took a 2-0 lead after the first innings. Halstead came back with 12 runs in the top of the second, adding eight in the third.

Payton Divine went two for four hitting with four RBIs. Abby Church went two for four hitting with three RBIs. Mya Morris went three for three, driving in three runs. Abby Church went two for four with three RBIs. Lauren Caldwell and Emma Boese each had two RBIs.

Boese pitched two innings for the win. Rylee Carmichael finished the game.

Emily Schmidt took the loss for Hesston. Sophia Becker and Meg Werner each drove in a run.

“I’m really excited,” Vlamis said. “We have a young core that will help us not only for this season, but for the next seasons. Our returners have been through it all. They were here for a 3-18 season and a 4-16 season. They are hungry and ready to start getting some wins and recognition for Halstead softball.”

“We have two seniors, one is a newcomer,” Kroeker said. “One is our pitcher. She’s been with us all four years. … We have a lot of sophomores, but a lot of them didn’t play because we didn’t have a season last year.”

Hesston plays Thursday at Chaparral. The last win for the Swathers was against Chaparral. Halstead hosts Haven Tuesday.

First game

Halstead;7(10)3;9;–;29;22;4

Hesston;1( 2)3;4;—;10;11;5

Morris (W) and Church; Werner (L) and Large. HR — Hal.: Divine.

Second game

Halstead;0(12)8;—;20;20;2

Hesston;2( 2)0;—;4;5;1

Boese (W), Carmichael 3 and Church; Schmidt (L), Werner 1 and Johnston. HR — Hal.: Day (1), Morris (1).

Mark Schnabel can be reached at mschnabel@thekansan.com