By RICK PETERSON
Shawnee Heights scored all three of its runs in the first innning and rode a pitching masterpiece from sophomore Grace Proctor the rest of the way as the T-Birds earned a berth in next week's Class 5A state tournament at Wichita with a 3-0 win over United Kansas Conference rival De Soto in Tuesday's 5A regional at Piper.
Shawnee Heights, the No. 6 5A East seed, edged St. James Academy 4-3 in a semifinal contest to advance to the championship game to face No. 14 De Soto, which upset No. 3 seed and tournament host Piper, 9-5, in the other semifinal.
The T-Birds, who improved to 15-7, had just four hits in the final but three of them came in the decisive first inning as Heights took control of the game.
Third baseman Karlyn Bowman plated right-fielder Audrey Schulte, who reached on a fielder's choice, with an RBI single and later in the inning catcher Spencer Habig delivered a two-run triple, scoring Alarayce Adams, who was hit by a pitch, and Bowman.
Proctor took over from there, allowing only a double in the sixth inning while striking out 13 De Soto hitters as Shawnee Heights took its third win of the season over the Wildcats.
After Shawnee Heights' first-inning uprising, the only other T-Bird hit was a fifth-inning double from Schulte, but Proctor and her teammates were in control throughout the game.
Shawnee Heights is back in the 5A state tournament field after a brief one-year absence.
The T-Birds were eliminated in the first round in 2021 after winning three straight state titles from '17-'19 and finishing second in '16.
The 5A state tournament is scheduled to be played next Thursday and Friday at Wilkins Stadium on the campus of Wichita State University.
The state pairings will be released at the conclusion of all eight regional tournaments.
Badsky, Rossville shine in 3A boys golf regional
Silver Lake junior Bryce Badsky took medalist honors with a 77, while Rossville earned a team berth with a second-place finish in Tuesday's Class 3A regional golf tournament at Sabetha Golf Course.
Badsky, a returning two-time 3A state placer, won the individual title by two strokes over Rossville freshman Jack Donovan and Sabetha junior Cullen Wikle, who both carded 79s.
Donavan helped the Bulldawgs post a four-man score of 339 to finish second behind tournament host Sabetha (329) as sophomore Jonathan Hart finished fourth with an 80, senior Kyser Lundin tied for seventh with an 84 and senior Manuel VanderPutten rounded out Rossville's top four with a 96.
The Class 3A tournament is scheduled to be played next Monday and Tuesday at Mariah Hills Golf Course in Dodge City.