Special to

There is no replacement for experience, and when state tournament time comes around, more times than not that will show, for good or bad.

Washburn Rural softball (20-3) is not lacking in experience as the No. 4-seeded Junior Blues began a fifth straight Class 6A state tournament appearance with a 5-2 win over No. 5 Shawnee Mission North (18-5) on Thursday afternoon.

KaciBathStateSenior Kaci Bath makes contact on a home run in Washburn Rural's 5-2 win over Shawnee Misssion North in the Class 6A state softball tournament Thursday. [Photo by Doug Walker/Special to TSN]

EmmersonCopepitchingHaydenWashburn Rural senior Emmerson Cope picked up a complete-game pitching victory in Thursday's Class 6A state tournament win over SM North Thursday. [Photo by Doug Walker/Special to TSN]

“It's that first step of coming out and immediately the first inning getting out on top and really showing what we have here at state.” said Washburn Rural coach Liz Stover. “I’m really proud of how they came out and delivered right off the bat.”

In addition to experience, the Lady Blues have new contributors that were not on last season's state runner-up team, as all five hits in Rural’s quarterfinal win came from seniors or from freshman shortstop Reagan Chapman who drove in a game-high three runs.

“I know she’s crazy nervous but she’s been killing it all season and I know that her teammates really respect her.” Stover said. “She had timely hitting at its finest and she’s hot right when we need her to be in the postseason tournament.”

A win for Washburn Rural sets up a semifinal matchup against No. 1 Olathe Northwest (23-0) on Friday at 11 a.m.

“They have solid pitching, some solid hitters and solid defense so I think it’ll be a close game and anyone can win it just depends on who shows up tomorrow.” Stover said.

Senior Emmerson Cope got the job done in the circle for the Lady Blues, tossing all seven innings and giving up five hits with seven strikeouts and allowing only two runs to earn the win.

“She was lights out today. It’s a really big goal of hers to come in and win state so she’s been working on being the best pitcher she can be and not letting anyone beat her.” Stover said.

Cope led off Washburn Rural at the plate with a walk in the first inning and advanced to second on a hit batter. Chapman brought the run home with a one-hopper ground rule double over the fence in left-center.

Rural loaded the bases but were unable to extend the lead further until the following inning. Two walks and another hit by pitch loaded the bases with one out for Chapman who singled past third base to drive in two more runs, making it 3-0.

The Bison got their first runner to third base in the fourth inning, loading the bases with no outs on a double and two hit batters.

The first of multiple strong defensive efforts got the Lady Blues out of the inning with no damage. First with an unassisted double play by Chapman catching a line drive at shortstop and followed by Cope helping her own cause by catching a liner hit right back at her to end the inning.

Cope continued to help herself, roping a double off the wall in right center in the bottom of the fourth. Senior Piper Titsworth hit one to the exact same spot and traded places to make it 4-0.

Shawnee Mission North threatened to score again in the fifth, putting two runners on base with one out. Sophomore Layla Collins caught a fly ball in right field and began a relay that ended with freshman catcher Henley Rapp swiping out the tagging runner at the plate, ending the inning.

“Defense was a huge thing that we worked on these last couple of weeks so I’m really proud of all of the effort that they put in.” Stover said. “Big games there’s always going to be something to work on but for the most part I’m really proud of how they showed up, and those big plays when we needed them, showed up.”

Senior Kaci Bath added an insurance run in the fifth inning, blasting a home run off the Arrocha Ballpark scoreboard in left center to make it 5-0 Lady Blues.

The Bison got two runs back in the sixth inning on back-to-back two-out singles.Shawnee Mission North got two more runners on in the seventh inning, this time Cope ended the inning and game with a strikeout, sending Washburn Rural to the state semifinals.

Junior Kelsey Hoekstra reached base all four times for the Bison, twice with doubles and twice on walks, but took the loss in the circle.

Chapman had the only multi-hit game for the Lady Blues, as she went 2-4. Four of the five hits for Washburn Rural went for extra bases.


Shawnee Mission North (18-5) 000 002 0 -- 2 5 1

Washburn Rural (20-3)              120 110 X -- 5 5 1

W – Cope. L - Hoekstra. 2B – Washburn Rural: Cope, Chapman, Titsworth. Shawnee Mission North: Hoekstra 2, Worthy. HR – Washburn Rural: Bath


Family Service and Guidance Center presents “In the Know”

TSN In the Know Logo

Youth Suicide Prevention:            What Parents Need to Know

click video tab
A1 Lock Key Logo

Key perfomers of the week

JacksonEsquibelnewmugJakeMullermug4TreRichardsonBBmug 2

ChrisBarnes3 002


2023 Hall of Fame inductee Chris Barnes 2017 Hall of Fame inductee Gary Woodland

TSN Video Podcast