Andover Trojan softball's magical season ends in extra-inning loss to Goddard

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Andover's Kylie Forney hits a ball against Goddard in the Class 5A regional championship game on Wednesday, May 19 at Andover High.

ANDOVER, Kansas—Andover loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the 10th but it sometimes it just wasn't meant to be. 

Goddard's Kendal LeGrand struck out 18 batters, including the game's final batter as Goddard beat Andover 3-1 in 10 innings on Wednesday night.

"I'm proud of how we played," Andover Head Coach Amisha Daniels said. "I don't think the score reflects who left it all on the field."

Andover racked up 10 hits but never could get that run across. They had runners in scoring position multiple times but every time, it was the mean fastball of LeGrand that had the final say it felt almost every time. 

The way the Trojans loaded the bases in the bottom of the 10th, it felt much like their first win over Salina Central. When Salina Central struck, the Trojans were able to find a response. When they loaded the bases, it was their way of responding. 

Andover has come such a long way from their 3-17 season two years ago and to be on the doorstep of a return to the Class 5A state tournament. It's a place they had not been since they were the one who ended Bishop Carroll's winning streak in 2016.

After COVID-19 took away a real developmental year for a roster that has a large portion of their starting lineup are not seniors. Andover exceeded expectations and rose through the ranks of Class 5A.

"You don't get here without hard work," Daniels said. "You don't get here without overcoming adversity. You don't get here without putting in everything they've put in and they've earn the right to be here."

Though, everyone contributed in their own way, like Haley Sizer pitching in a regional game as a freshman. The hard work the Trojans put in was returned with wins. They won the league title on the arm of senior Tess Eubank and on the bats of numerous players like juniors Bailey Way and Kylie Forney. 

While Andover has some holes to fill next season with the loss of Eubank and others, the future is bright for the Trojans. 

"They have spent the last four years building a program and that's our job to keep making it better," Daniels said. "We want to make it when you hear Andover on your schedule you get worried."

A standing room only crowd saw two of the best pitchers in Kansas throw for 10 innings and more for more than 300 pitches.

In the end, Emma Johnson scored on a blooper from Laci Dryden in the top of the 10th inning with only one out would be the difference. Dryden would skip to third base and score on the next batter on a squeeze play to give Goddard the 3-1 lead. 

It was the first runs for the Lions since they Dryden scored in the top of the third. 

Way reached on an infield single and Alyssa Evans reached safely on a bunt that splint the short stop and third basement to give Andover two on with out. Grace Boling sacrified herself to move the runners to second and third with one out. 

That's when Goddard made the decision to intentionally walk Forney, who had homered in the win over Salina Central. It paid off as LeGrand struck out the final batter to secure the win. 

"They earned the right to fight, to go to state," Daniels said. "It didn't really shake out for us tonight."

Eubank finishes as the career leader in strikeouts and single-season strikeout leader at Andover. Shew threw 11 more on Wednesday night. 

"The Future is bright for us," Daniels said. "We lose some quality seniors but we return two seniors (currently juniors) that are absolutely studs (Way and Forney)."

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.