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Area softball: Goddard wants return to state tournament

Published March 26 at 12 a.m. | Last updated March 26 at 7:07 a.m.

The image is still all too vivid for the Goddard softball team.

As the No. 2 seed in the Class 5A tournament, it was supposed to be a march to the championship game for the Lions and a showdown with Bishop Carroll.

Instead, Goddard fell to Mill Valley 5-2 in the semifinals, then lost to Maize South in the third-place game.

“We still haven’t talked about it,” junior pitcher Megan Graf said. “And we’re a pretty close team.”

That seems to be the avenue Goddard has taken this spring — use a new season as motivation, rather than past disappointments.

But just because nobody talks about last May doesn’t mean it hasn’t been thought of.

“I think the motivation from losing last season is just implied,” junior Miranda Rohleder said. “We were pretty disappointed because the expectations are set really high.”

For just that reason, coach Rita Smith chooses to look only at the present. She doesn’t want too much emphasis being put on the postseason, despite that being the ultimate prize.

“The girls know that we definitely have a target on our backs and everyone will be shooting to beat us,” Smith said. “We can’t look ahead and we need to just take it one game at a time and hopefully be playing our best ball at the end of the season.”

Undoubtedly Goddard has the talent to put itself in position for a successful season.

Graf went 12-3 last season as the Lions’ top pitcher. She defeated every team in the Division II of the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League.

Rohleder hit .400, including 16 extra-base hits.

Goddard’s top offensive player was Morgan Bohanan, who has signed to play at Kansas next season. She led the Lions with a .582 average, five home runs, 33 RBIs and 33 runs, along with 16 walks.

“We know other teams think we are going to be really good,” Bohanan said. “But we embrace being a team to beat. We know not to get too cocky. We have veteran players who know how to handle it.”

The veteran players — Graf, Bohanan, Rohleder and senior catcher Megan Dougherty — will have to produce early because several inexperienced players will be thrust into significant positions.

“We have two seniors that are good leaders in Morgan and Megan Dougherty,” Smith said. “Out of the 11 varsity players, five are upperclassmen and the other six are freshmen and sophomores.”

Bohanan feels like the biggest challenge for the Lions is not getting too far ahead of them and taking the regular season for granted.

“We know the season will be a challenge,” Bohanan said. “But we have the same expectation and the one goal we’ve always had, and that’s win state.”

AREA PLAYERS TO WATCH

Andale: Taylor Bugner, sr., Dani Neville, sr., Bridget Bergkamp, sr., Bailey Horsch, jr.

Andover: Paige Ellison, sr., Dakota Smith, sr.

Andover Central: Becca Schulte, jr., McKenzie McNight, so.

Arkansas City: Jordan Boone, jr., Shyann Voss, so.,

Augusta: Katy Nordman, sr., Casady Marlnee, sr., Abby Tipton, sr.

Buhler: Loryn Boll, jr., Ashley Sides, so., Lyndsey Goertzen, sr.

Campus: Macey Schultz, sr., Andrea Gerstenkorn, jr., Megan Vanatta, so.

Cedar Vale-Dexter: London Clapp, sr., Kaylen Artherton, jr., Courtney Kuntz, jr., Brook Pudden, sr., Hailey Reed, jr.

Central-Burden: Haylee Beavers, jr., Rylee Liebau, so., Bailee Ellis, so., Saydi Lower, so.

Circle: Reagan Wilson, so., Amanda Connell, sr., Calie Kifer, so.,

Clearwater: Bryna Vogel, sr., Hayley Reibenspies, so.

Derby: Tori Miller, sr., Ashlynn Godown, jr., Carly Gum, jr., Kenzie Young, so.

Eisenhower: Brynn Minor, so., Alex Holzman, sr., Taylor Wenzel, sr., Jillian Stockton, sr.

El Dorado: Logan Morrow, sr., Dani McFadden, sr.,

Eureka: Alix Boulanger, sr., Myranda Hilton, sr., Megan Bitler, sr.

Haven: Kylee Davis, sr., Katie Schrag, sr., Samantha Stallbaumer, jr.

Hesston: Darian Gonzalez, sr., Abby Shirley, sr., Morgan Estep, sr.

Hutchinson: Kacia Hilty, so., Emily Wessell, jr., Emily Idler, jr.,

Kingman-Norwich: Sada Smith, jr., Janessa Rinke, jr., Paige Kelley, so., Britney Jayne, sr.

Maize: Emily Griggs, sr., Meghan Grimes, jr., Lexi Eisenbart, jr., Allie Jurgensen, so.

Maize South: Kelsey Sterneker, sr., Annika Bray, sr., Taylor Mannis, sr., Macy Allred, sr.

McPherson: Chelsey Kerr, so., Madison Hoffman, jr., Kiley Kerr, sr.

Medicine Lodge: Morgan Myers, jr., Breanna Larkin, sr., Kara Sill, sr., Bethany Morford, sr.

Moundridge: Hope Wedel, sr., Michelle Schrag, jr., Elizabeth Ratzlaff, jr., Baylie Blouin, jr.

Mulvane: Destynee Donaldson, sr., Bailey Holt, sr., Ashley Wilson, jr.,

Newton: Megan Regier, sr., Alyssa Saenz, jr., Jessica Motes, jr., Taylor Stahly, jr.

Oxford: Shelby Young, sr., Autumn Lerback, sr., Erica Smith, sr., Tarynn Perez, sr.

Pratt: Britnee Hill, sr., Lauren Rambat, sr., Bailey Gillig, sr., Dakota Jones, sr.

Smoky Valley: Hannah McBride, sr., Jurnee Gregg, sr., Carly Kolling, sr., Morgan Loder, sr.

Sunrise: Mandy Cockrell, sr., Hailey Turner, sr., Ciara Johansen, jr.

Valley Center: Megan Barnes, sr., Gabby Sandoval, sr., Perrin Spears, sr., Miranda Trible, sr., Kira Eddy, sr.

Winfield: Breanna Pingry, sr., Gabby Birdwell, sr., Jenna Groene, so.

SCHEDULE

March

Thursday — Heights vs. Campus (South Lakes), Buhler, Clearwater at Wellington, Derby at Goddard, Mulvane at Augusta, McPherson at Rose Hill; Friday — Eisenhower at Salina Central; 31 — El Dorado at Mulvane, Rose Hill at Wellington, McPherson at Andale.

April

1 — Kapaun at Ark City, Carroll vs. West (TRYC), Heights vs. Northwest (TRYC), Southeast vs. East (TRYC), South vs. North (TRYC); 3 — Winfield, Clearwater vs. East (TRYC), Northwest at Derby, Maize vs. Carroll (TRYC), Southeast at Salina Central, Goddard at Hutchinson, Wellington at Mulvane, Augusta at El Dorado, Chaparral at Medicine Lodge, Belle Plaine at Bluestem; 4 — Ark City vs. South (TRYC), Valley Center at Salina South, Andover Central at Newton, Rose Hill at Augusta; 7 — Andale at Mulvane, Clearwater at Rose Hill, McPherson at Winfield, Medicine Lodge at Belle Plaine, Chaparral at Bluestem; 8 — East vs. South (TRYC), Heights vs. Southeast (TRYC), Kapaun vs. Northwest (TRYC), North vs. West (TRYC), Independence at Trinity; 10 — Southeast vs. Kapaun (TRYC), South vs. Heights (TRYC), Carroll vs. North (TRYC), West vs. East (TRYC), Circle at McPherson, Wellington at Augusta, Clearwater at Buhler, Andale at Winfield, Medicine Lodge at Belle Plaine, Chaparral at Douglass, Trinity at Cheney; 11 — East at Hutchinson, Liberal vs. Southeast (TRYC), Andover at Goddard, Andover Central at Eisenhower, Newton at Salina South, Campus at Maize, Valley Center at Maize South; 14 — El Dorado at McPherson, Rose Hill at Bugler, Winfield at Mulvane, Circle at Clearwater, Independent at Trinity, Chaparral at Cheney; 15 — North vs. Northwest (TRYC), Kapaun vs. East (TRYC), West vs. South (TRYC), Southeast vs. Carroll (TRYC), Goddard at Eisenhower, Newton at Derby, Maize at Hutchinson, Campus at Andover, Salina South at Salina Central, Maize South at Ark City; 17 — North, Andover at Newton, Heights at Dodge City, Carroll at Maize South, Augusta at McPherson. Clearwater at El Dorado, Circle at Rose Hill, Wellington at Winfield, Cheney at Medicine Lodge; 21 — Douglass at Trinity, Medicine Lodge at Independent, Bluestem at Belle Plaine; 22 — Heights at North (TRYC), South vs. Southeast (TRYC), Northwest vs. West (TRYC), Carroll vs. Kapaun (TRYC), Andover Central at Maize South, Hesston at Cheney; 24 — West vs. Heights (TRYC), East vs. Carroll (TRYC), Kapaun vs. South (TRYC), Northwest vs. Southeast (TRYC), Great Bend vs. North (TRYC), Buhler at Mulvane, Andale at Clearwater, El Dorado at Winfield, Augusta at Circle; 25 — South at Dodge City, Hutchinson at Eisenhower, Ark City at Goddard, Derby at Salina South, Campus at Newton, Salina Central at Maize, Cheney at Trinity, Belle Plaine at Medicine Lodge, Douglass at Chaparral; 28 — Buhler at McPherson, Mulvane at El Dorado, Clearwater at Augusta, Rose Hill at Winfield, Chaparral at Trinity, Medicine Lodge at Bluestem, Belle Plaine at Independent, Cheney at Douglass; 29 — Southeast vs. North (TRYC), South vs. Carroll (TRYC), Heights vs. Kapaun (TRYC), East vs. Northwest (TRYC), Maize South at Goddard, Derby at Andover Central, Valley Center at Eisenhower, Newton at Hutchinson, Campus at Salina Central, Salina South at Maize.

May

1 — Mulvane at McPherson, El Dorado at Rose Hill, Winfield at Buhler, Independent at Chaparral, Trinity at Belle Plaine; 2 — Sunrise at West, Maize at Goddard, Derby at Campus, Hutchinson at Salina South, Salina Central and Newton, Andover Central at Andover, Ark City at Valley Center, Eisenhower at Maize South, Medicine Lodge at Kingman; 5 — Medicine Lodge at Douglass, Chaparral at Belle Plaine, Trinity at Bluestem, Independent at Cheney; 6 — North vs. Kapaun (TRYC), West vs. Southeast (TRYC), Heights vs. East (TRYC), Northwest vs. Carroll (TRYC), Maize at Newton, Hutchinson at Campus, Goddard at Valley Center, Ark City at Andover Central; 8 — Rose Hill at Mulvane, Maize South at Augusta, Wellington at Clearwater, Winfield at Circle, Trinity at Medicine Lodge, Bluestem at Chaparral, Belle Plaine at Cheney; 9 — Maize South, Andover Central at Emporia, McPherson, Great Bend at Salina South, Valley Center, Cheney at Campus, Eisenhower at Andover; 10 — Maize South, Andover Central at Emporia; 12 — El Dorado, Wellington at Valley Center, Mulvane at Circle, Trinity at Clearwater, Andale at Rose Hill, Augusta at Buhler, Medicine Lodge at Chaparral, Douglass at Belle Plaine, Cheney at Bluestem; 13 — North vs. East (TRYC), Kapaun vs. West (TRYC), Carroll vs. Heights (TRYC), Northwest vs. South (TRYC), Hutchinson at Derby, McPherson at Salina Central, Salina South at Maize South, Ark City at Winfield; 15 — Goddard vs. Kapaun (TRYC), Maize at Andover; 16 — Maize, Northwest at Andover; 19-22 — Regionals; 29-30 — State tournaments.