By KEVIN THOMPSON
SCOTT CITY — It wasn't the dream ending to their season, but it was a great ride.
That's how the Scott City softball team views their Class 3A regional runner-up finish on Tuesday.
Scott City fell to Larned 13-1 in the title game after rolling past Holcomb 8-1 in the semifinal game.
The Beavers managed just three hits off senior pitcher Brittany Perez, who struck out eight batters and walked just two. They allowed 12 hits and committed two errors.
In the end, it was just too much Larned.
After setting down Larned in order in the first inning, Scott City gave up a leadoff single to Perez, who scored on a triple by Summer Snyder, who then scored on a bunt by Brittanie Miller.
But it was the next two innings where the Lady Indians flexed a lot of muscle. They sent nine batters to the plate and four scored in the third.
In the fifth, they sent 11 up to bat and six scored.
Larned did it all on singles and walks, manufacturing runs with stolen bases and sacrifices. They chased starter Leiken Hickey in the third, but the offense just kept coming.
Meanwhile, Perez was pitching a gem. The senior, who said her fastball has been clocked at 68 mph, stayed ahead of the Scott City hitters most of the game.
Perez gave up a single in the first, went 1-2-3 in the second and third innings, and gave up a home run to Karli Cooper in the fourth.
Audrey Baker got a single in the fifth but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Larned had the title and a berth in the state tournament in Manhattan next week locked up.
For Scott City coach Ranae Baker, the silver lining in the loss is easy to spot.
"I'm very proud of this team," she said. "They set records in this school. This is the first trophy we've had in the softball trophy case, so what more could you ask for?"
The set-up win over Holcomb was the team that coach Baker notes is indicative of the season's successes.
In that game, Hickey struck out nine, walked just one, and only gave up one hit. Of Scott City's 11 hits, Hickey had a double and Cooper hit a triple and a homer.
They scored in four of their six at-bats, but they set Holcomb down in order three times. Holcomb's lone hit was a single by Madison Landwehr in the fourth.
The semifinal win guaranteed the Beavers of a winning season (12-11), the first in school history.
"I'm so proud of my girls. We had a different type of a season because we knew that we we were good," coach Baker said. Seven seniors helped make that happen, she said.
Larned looked anything but a number-three seed in this regional. In three games, the Indians outscored their opponents 39-2, including a 10-0 win over top-seed Goodland earlier in the day.
The victory for Larned is sweeter, Perez said, because the previous three seasons, they've been the team taking home the runner-up plaque.
"We played some hard schools this year. It's been our toughest schedule by far," Perez said of playing bigger schools such as Hays, Great Bend and Garden City. "We've learned from every single game. It's been an up-and-down season, but we got it done."
Innings like the third and fourth in which they sent 20 batters to the plate has become normal late in the season, Perez said. That just shows how much her team has improved.
At 14-9, she concedes that the Indians' seed won't be very high next week, but that doesn't concern her much.
"As long as we play the best we can, all we can do is do what we do and hope for the best," she said.
Larned 13, Scott City 1
Larned 024 70 -- 13 12 0
Scott City 000 10 -- 1 3 3
Larned - Perez and Snyder. Scott City - Hickey, Baker (3), Hickey (4) and Cooper. WP - Perez. LP - Hickey. 2B - Seeman. 3B - Snyder. HR - Cooper.
Scott City 8, Holcomb 1
Holcomb 001 000 0 -- 1 1 2
Scott City 021 032 x -- 8 11 4
Holcomb - Carman and Burns. Scott City - Hickey and Burns. WP - Hickey. LP - Carman. 2B - Hickey. 3B - Cooper. HR - Cooper.