• Roger Sims, Journal Staff

Prairie View softball team state runner-up champs

The Prairie View tournament team and coaches pose with the State 3A Runner-up championship trophy after the final game on Friday, May 27. Head coach Lisa Mays is at far right on the front row. (Photos by Janell Aust, special to the Journal)

MANHATTAN – The Prairie View Buffalo softball team was 3A State Runner-up Champions in Manhattan after its southeast Kansas nemesis Frontenac won the championship game, 7-1. The Raiders were the only team to get two wins against Prairie View during the regular season, and they managed to cool the Buffalos bats again on Friday, May 27.

Despite the loss in the title game, it was the first time that a Prairie View team reached finals since 1978, when the girls volleyball team was runner-up, according to David Heidrick of the Prairie View Athletics Database Facebook page.

The state tournament also represented a milestone for head coach Lisa Mays, who is retiring as head coach. This is her 19th season as head coach for the team, and her teams have won 232 games, including 20 games this year, according to Heidrick. It was the fifth time the team made the state playoff tournament, and prior to Friday, a fourth-place finish was the team’s best.

The Buffalos went into the state playoffs with a game plan they have followed all season. Crisp pitching by righthand ace Emma Chambers, hot bats, and aggressive base-running led them to a 10-1 win over Scott in the quarterfinal.

The semi-final game against Rossville proved to be tougher. With starting pitcher Chambers pitching four innings for the Buffalos and right-hander Julia Paisley throwing in relief, the two teams put a run each on the scoreboard in the first inning.

Prairie View got another run in the third, only to have Rossville tie the score in the fifth. The Buffalos scored two runs at the top of the eighth inning. Addison Bloodgood started the rally with a single to left field. Pinch hitter Rylee Day, who was three hits for three at-bats in the game, tapped the Rossville pitcher for a double on a line drive to right field.

Charlee Boone brought in a run with a line drive to center field, and on the next play Jali Isenhower stole home to put the game away, 4-3. Both teams were cranking out hits, with 12 for Prairie View and 13 for Rossville, but stingy defenses kept either side from running up the score.

In the title match, Frontenac jumped out to an early lead, scoring four times in the first inning and twice in the second. The Buffalos put its sole run on the scoreboard at the top of the third when Julia Paisley reached first on an error, and then advanced to third on a ground out to third.

An error by the Frontenac shortstop gave Paisley all the time she need to cross home plate. However, Frontenac pitching and fielding, put the Buffalos normally noisy bats and aggressive base running on ice. And while Prairie View’s defense made Frontenac work for their hits, the Raiders got 10 hits to Prairie View’s five.

Pioneer League and district playoff champs, the Buffalos ended the season with an 18-3-1 record. All three loses came at the hands of Frontenac. Prairie View tied 5-5 with Iola in the first league game of the season.

The Buffalos graduating seniors end a memorable season by hosting the runners-up trophy. They are, from left, Charlee Boone, Lauren Aust, Julia Paisley, Alyssa Page, Braxton Stainbrook and Rylee Boone.

While Prairie View will lose six seniors and have a new head coach next year, it will be returning several varsity team members. Chambers and Bloodgood will be seniors next year. Kaylene Gregg, Rylee Day and Quinn Browning will be juniors, and Isenhower, Bella Stolle and Rian Stainbrook will be sophomores.

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