Warriors’ first-ever trip to state ends with 6-0 loss;
Marion High softball ended a breakout season at the top of its league, ranked amid the best in the Kansas.
And while the Warriors unprecedented year may have ended with a 6-0 loss at state to runner-up Burlingame, coach Judy Noller could not be happier with the team.
“I’m proud of them; they had a great season,” she said, adding she and assistant coach, Molly Dillon, appreciated the hard work the girls put in.
“We enjoyed the ride,” she said. “They made it exciting for everybody — for the team, the coaches, and the community.”
The girls made history this season,
The Warriors’ 14-5 win May 19 over Moundridge earned Marion softball its first regional championship and trip to state.
The Warrior girls took their chance to battle for a state title seriously, Noller said.
“I know there are some communities where it’s a tradition. They go to state all the time,” she said. “I know it’s exciting for teams, but not like it was for us.”
The Warriors fell behind 3-0 early Thursday during its first game at state as Burlingame took the lead on a double in the first inning.
Marion junior Mickelly Soyez and senior Laura Savage knocked out the team’s two hits as the Warrior’s struggled at-bat against Bearcat pitcher Alexandra Crook.
“She was a really nice pitcher. We’ve seen some this season, but she was a little faster,” Noller said. “We made contact with the ball, but we didn’t square it up too many times.”
Burlingame knocked out 13 hits and scored three more runs for a final score of 6-0. The Bearcats were state runner-up losing 6-0 to St. Mary’s-Colgan in the final game.
Marion High athletic director Jason Hett and principal Donald Raymer gave the Warriors high fives and hugs after the game.
“I know the girls were upset,” Noller said. “You don’t go and think about what happens when you lose.”
Noller will miss departing seniors Chisholm Waner, Jaden Slifer, Laura Savage, Megan Neufeld, and Macy Sigel, all of whom have come forward as team leaders.
But she already is looking forward to coaching Marion’s returning underclassmen — especially now that they have post-season championship experience..
Noller expects great things from juniors Jayden May and Mickelly Soyez who have been two of the Warriors’ top hitters knocking out .583 and .526 season batting averages.
Natalie Sigel threw a no-hitter April 9 against Inman and “stayed consistent” on the mound — even though she was only a freshman, Noller said.
“She’s going to help us a lot next year as a pitcher,” she said.
Sophomores Shannon Taylor, Calli Burkholder, Natalie Hoffner Carley Wilhelm and freshmen Grace Hett, Tessa Mendoza, Haley Kraus, and Calleigh Soyez all have the ability to step up and play well, Noller said.
“They’re all special girls,” she said. “I don’t want to coach any other team.”