STATE FINAL SCENES: More from Class 2 state softball in Springfield

May 22—Diamond won the Class 2 state softball championship on Tuesday at the Killian Sports Complex in Springfield. It did so after a 13-3 win on Monday over Willow Springs. Tuesday's win was an 8-5 final over Kennett.

Kennett had defeated Lone Jack 11-4 on Monday. Lone Jack topped Willow Springs 5-2 in the third-place game.

The Wildcats are the smallest of the four schools by enrollment size. Diamond was listed at 183 while Lone Jack was the next smallest at 192. Both Willow Springs and Kennett reach 300 in enrollment.

It's worth noting that Lone Jack's Jaimie Nichols brought the Mules to the state finals in her first season as head coach.


One of the best things I saw throughout the two days was the effort on the last hit of Diamond and Willow Springs' semifinal game.

Diamond was coming to bat in the bottom of the sixth with a 12-3 lead — just one run away from a run-rule victory.

Caitlyn Suhrie drove a pitch deep into center field that looked to be a game-ending home run almost immediately off the bat.

"If I'm being honest, I knew that ball was gone. But, I did lose it in the sun, so I was hoping I still had a chance," Willow Springs center fielder Aleisha Shanks said.

Shanks never gave up on it as she tracked it back to the temporary tape-style fencing that was moved in to shorten the outfield depth for a traditional high school size field.

She ran out of real estate, though, and at full speed she crashed into the fence and her momentum carried her over the fence as she did a complete flip over it.

"For me, as a junior, I want what's best for this senior class," Shanks said. "So, if that means hustling after this ball that I may not even get, I know I did it for them. I feel like my fight is for them."

After Suhrie finished rounding the bases, she and the rest of the Diamond team took a knee on the field to make sure Shanks would be OK. After a few moments, she was up and walking off under her own power.

"Our whole team was being respectful toward that and making sure she was OK," Suhrie said. "Even though we had won the game at that point, a person's health is more important than a softball game."

Willow Springs head coach Ryan Bunch had this to say about his player's effort: "She's a great player. She's our leader in the outfield. She's made tremendous catch after tremendous catch all year long. In fact, when she went back on the ball I thought she got a good read on it and thought she was going to rob the girl of the home run. ... She gave me everything she had right there and she always does."


Willow Springs' seniors should be proud of what they've done in four years. Check out this comment from coach Bunch on what his three seniors were able to accomplish:

"My seniors, when they were freshmen, won five ballgames. To see them progress year after year and make the Final Four this year has been surreal to me," Bunch said.


Grace Frazier told me on more than one occasion this year that it couldn't be done by just her and her fellow senior classmate, Suhrie. She would always say the success was in thanks to the coaches and every player on the team. Even those who don't get playtime in varsity games. Even the community got recognition throughout the year.

Heck, I've really been hearing that since volleyball season began from her and Suhrie.

Frazier had one more name to include after Tuesday's win.

"Me and Cait can't do it without great coaches and great teammates and a great community behind us," Frazier said. "All glory to God. I said our community, but God did all of this."


Junior outfielder Kabrie Parmley was able to start two rallies in the state title game against Kennett. The first was on a bunt single and the next on a hit she slapped through the right side of the infield.

She talked about her job as the ninth-place hitter.

"My job is just to get the ball down. Sometimes I decide I want to bunt. ... It depends on who's on base and if I have my runners that I need to move around, or if we're in a situation where we just need someone on base," Parmley said.

Parmley went 4 for 6 in the two games and drew one walk. She had three RBIs and four runs scored.

Suhrie, Lauren Turner and coach Parrish have talked specifically about it being all nine batters in the lineup who can hit and Parmley being a big part of the offense from that ninth spot.


Parmley talked about being a part of the two state titles at Diamond and what others have told her.

"Oh my gosh. I get told all the time we're living other people's dreams," she said. "Caitlyn Suhrie, she mentioned, we're driving past all these other schools today that are not here today. Just take it in and be blessed you're here with all these girls. It's an amazing feeling."