WICHITA -- The Hays High School softball team opened its season Tuesday, falling 8-7 and again 23-13 on the road against Kapaun Mount Carmel in Wichita.
In Game 1, HHS (0-2) led 1-0 after half an inning on a RBI-single by Albany Schaffer, but KMC (2-0) responded with a run in the bottom half of the first inning and two more runs in the second to lead 3-1.
That score held until both offenses exploded in the fifth inning, the Indians bringing in six runs, including a two-RBI double by Schaffer, to lead 7-3. KMC answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning to get within one, two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning pushing them ahead for the win.
Schaffer led HHS with three runs batted in on two hits. Madison Prough started on the mound for the Indians, taking the loss while allowing three earned runs in three innings.
In Game 2, Hays High led 4-0 after half an inning, all the runs coming on a grand slam by senior Kaylie Schoendaller, the school's all-time home run leader. That lead lasted only until the bottom of the second inning, when the Crusaders scored seven runs. HHS answered with three runs in the third to tie the game at 7-7, but KMC responded with six more runs in the bottom half of the inning and never looked back, an eight-run sixth inning leading to the run rule.
HHS's Hope Aufdemberge took the loss, pitching 1.2 innings of relief.
Kapaun was a fourth-place finisher in Class 5A last season, having defeated Hays High 7-6 in the state quarterfinals.
The Indians, in 4A Division I this season, will return to the diamond Thursday with games at Goodland High School. HHS will then play a triangular at Valley Center on March 31 before its home opener on April 9 against Dodge City High School.
Nick Schwien is managing editor at The Hays Daily News.