Lady Lions take home title

Sarah Knepper makes the throw in Bremen's title win
Ron Haramia
Sports Writer

How was your Friday afternoon?
All Bremen’s Kaelyn Shively did was pitch a no-hitter and hit a home run as the top-ranked Lady Lions softball team defeated the Central Noble Cougars, 5-0, to win the Class 2A Westview Sectional championship.
“Not a bad day at all,” said Bremen head coach Mike Huppert, whose team repeats as sectional champs and secures its fifth title in the past six years and 15th overall.
The Lady Lions will host the regional on Tuesday, May 29, against the winner of the Bluffton Sectional (either fifth-ranked South Adams or Adams Central).
“We’ll be ready for whoever comes our way,” Huppert added shortly before getting the obligatory water bucket shower from the team.
Central Noble, 9-1 losers to Bremen way back in March, literally threw a curve ball in an attempt to shake things up. Instead of starting hard-throwing Maddie Bremer, the Cougars went with junk-baller Jenica Berkes.
“We were afraid that it might screw us up a little bit,” admitted Huppert. “Maybe slow us up a little bit, but the idea was we were going to get up on her and if they make the switch (to Bremer), we’d score on her too. We were ahead early.”
“We tried to take advantage of the first pitcher,” said Shively, whose HR was just one of three hits for Bremen. “We thought it was a slap in the face that they pitched her.”
Although hits were at a premium, the Lions are masters at creating offense and they managed to carve out more than enough.
Carly Snyder led off the third inning with a single, was sacrificed to second by Caitlyn Myers, and scored on a throwing error. Sara Knepper walked to lead off the fifth, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on fly ball by Bailey Fritter. Shively followed with her no-doubt solo shot over the left-field fence and the lead was 3-0 on just two hits.
Fritter walked to lead off the sixth, was bunted over by Shively, then McKenna Myers singled. Both scored when Carly Snyder hit a shot in the hole that Central Noble’s shortstop could not handle, plating the final two runs.
All it was going to take on this afternoon though, was one run the way Shively – and the defense behind her – performed. The junior right-hander struck out six, walked just one, and was supported by a number of good plays by her teammates.
• Second baseman Fritter made a great play on a bad-hop grounder in the fourth inning.
• Leftfielder Caitlyn Myers battled a sun ball to make a nifty catch in the fifth inning.
• The fifth ended with a ball ricocheting off Shively, bouncing to Fritter, who then threw to Hannah Rowe at first for the putout.
• Knepper was a vacuum at third.
“It’s fun to know that I can actually (throw a no-hitter) for my team,” said Shively. “My team obviously helps me. I trust (the defense) 100 percent with all of my heart.”
“I knew we gave up a walk, but I didn’t know it was a no-hitter,” Huppert added. “It was great to do it here in this game. (On the home run) she moved up in the box, got a pitch on a 3-1 count and was able to drive it over.”
“The second pitch was right down the middle and I swung too hard,” Shively said of her key at-bat. “The coaches tell me to relax all of the time and that’s what I did. I didn’t know if it was going to hit the fence or not, so I ran hard to first. I had a feeling it was out.”
It was and so are the Cougars.
At Topeka
Class 2A Westview Sectional final
C. Noble 000 000 0 – 0 0 3
Bremen 001 202 x – 5 3 1
Jenica Berkes, Maddie Bremer (4) and Bridgette Gray; Kailyn Shively and Carly Snyder.
HR: Shively (B)
Records: Bremen 23-3, Central Noble 18-7 (final)