Prep Softball

Despite 6 errors, Benton edges Solon in regional softball semifinals

Aided by her own 2-run homer, Katelyn Buscher leads Bobcats to the 3A regional finals with 3-2 win

Katelyn Buscher, Benton Community
Katelyn Buscher, Benton Community

SOLON — It doesn’t add up.

Six errors is a recipe for disaster. Defeat, for sure. But somehow, some way, the Benton Bobcats overcame and escaped them.

Benton Community slithered out of numerous self-inflicted predicaments and edged Solon, 3-2, in a Class 3A softball regional semifinal Friday night at Solon High School.

How?

“After we made errors, we shook them off and focused on the next play,” said junior pitcher Katelyn Buscher, who stayed calm and composed when the fire was hottest.

Fair enough.

“Credit to the girls, and credit to Katelyn,” Benton Community Coach Eric Stenberg said. “She had the best game of her career tonight, and I couldn’t be prouder.”

Benton (15-8) plays for a state-tournament berth Monday, when it faces a stiff road test at No. 3 Williamsburg (22-4). The Raiders handled Roland-Story, 6-1, Friday.

It was the fourth time in six years that these teams met in the postseason. That series is tied 2-2.

“We’ve had a thing for Solon for years and years,” Buscher said. “We had to stay calm.”

Solon (20-14) stranded 12 baserunners, leaving the bases loaded in the first, fifth and sixth innings.

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The Bobcats struck in the top of the third inning on a bases-loaded, full-count, two-out walk by Jaida Lyons. Buscher’s two-run home run to right field — her second of the season — made it 3-0 in the fourth.

Buscher’s blast came after she fouled off two pitches in a sacrifice attempt.

“I thought (Solon pitcher Kayla West) was going to come high to me, but she came outside and I love outside and I drilled it,” Buscher said.

An error opened the door for Solon’s fifth-inning rally, and Jadyn Jeter and West each bunted home a run as the Spartans pulled within 3-2.

But the Spartans couldn’t capitalize in the sixth, coming up empty despite two hits and two errors. Solon ran itself out of some big opportunities with three baserunning mistakes Friday, and when they really, truly needed, the Bobcats made plays.

“We had some hiccups and we didn’t get rattled,” Stenberg said. “We made some big plays when we needed, and we held on.”

BENTON COMMUNITY 3, SOLON 2

Class 3A Regional Semifinal, at Solon

Benton Community 001 200 0 — 3 7 6

Solon 000 020 0 — 2 8 0

Katelyn Buscher and Brielle Hogan. Kayla West and Sarah Heick. W — Buscher (9-5). L — West (6-4). HR — Buscher (2).

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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