Fort Osage softball 'sad it ended today' after controversial call in district loss

Bill Althaus
The Examiner
Fort Osage senior Savannah Short, right, slaps hands with coach Kelly Sullivan after slugging a three-run home run in the fourth inning of Tuesday's Class 5 District 7 opener against Lee's Summit. The blast gave the Indians a 4-1 lead but Lee's Summit rallied for a 7-5 victory.

Fort Osage senior Savannah Short was hoping to cry tears of joy following the Class 5 District 7 softball opener against Lee's Summit. 

Instead, the third baseman, who hit a three-run homer and an RBI single, was simply battling the tears that streamed down her face Tuesday following Lee’s Summit’s 7-5 come-from-behind victory. 

The Tigers (14-12) will now play top-seeded Lee's Summit North (24-9), a 15-0 winner over Raytown, at 4 p.m. Thursday at North while the 19-9 Indians pack up their gear. 

"This is so hard," Short said, her face flush as tears filled her eyes. "From my first year as a freshman, my goal was to be a better player every season, and I think I was able to do that. And I wanted to do that because I knew it would help our team improve. 

"We had such a great season, and we're all so sad it ended today."

Fort Osage first baseman Aryia Morton, left, catches the throw from the infield as Lee's Summit freshman Ezra Medrano (1) runs to the base in the fifth inning of their Class 5 District 7 game Tuesday at Legacy Park. Medrano was first called out and later ruled safe on the controversial play as Lee's Summit scored two runs later in the inning to take the lead. The Tigers went on to a 7-5 win.

And it ended with Short in the on-deck circle as Tigers reliever Josi Olas retired the final nine batters she faced. 

"We didn't want No. 11 (Short) coming up again," Tigers coach Joe Rohlfing said. "Josi retired the side in the bottom of the seventh – that was a great way to end the game." 

Short and teammate Keinlee Rinacke each hit homers for the Indians, but the player who attracted all of the attention after the game was Lee’s Summit freshman Ezra Medrano. 

Medrano made six outs, including an over-the-fence leaping catch to rob Short of a second homer in the fifth inning. 

She also made a sensational running catch on Short's homer in the fourth inning. Sound confusing? It isn't. 

"I was running hard for the ball, made the catch and then I hit the fence hard, and the ball popped out of my glove and over the fence," Medrano said of the homer that gave Fort Osage a 4-1 lead. 

"I don't think I've ever had as many balls hit to me as I did today. I was really happy to jump up against the fence and catch that ball in the fifth. It kind of made up for the one that popped out of my glove earlier in the game." 

Fort Osage's Keinlee Rinacke smiles as she sees teammates running to greet her at home plate after she hit a solo home run in the fourth inning of Tuesday's Class 5 District 7 matchup against Lee's Summit. Rinacke's blast gave the Indians a 5-4 lead but Lee's Summit rallied for a 7-5 win.

Oh, Medrano also homered to help the Tigers come back from a 4-1 deficit and tie it 4-4 in the top of the fourth inning. 

"It was a great game, and I am so proud of our girls," Fort Osage coach Kelly Sullivan said. "When we got here, I told the girls, 'If you're not ready to play, don't get off the bus.' Every girl got off the bus and every girl was ready to play."

After Lee's Summit tied it, Rinacke hit a solo blast in the bottom of the fourth to put the Indians back on top, 5-4.

Fort Osage's Keinlee Rinacke, left, tags out Lee's Summit runner Ezra Medrano at second base during Tuesday's Class 5 District 7 first-round game at Legacy Park. Medrano played a key role as Lee's Summit rallied for a 7-5 win to end Fort Osage's season.

One of the biggest plays of the game came in the top of the fifth inning, and, again, it featured Medrano. 

With runners on second and third she grounded the ball to shortstop, and was called out on a close play at first base.

Rohlfing calmly asked the first base umpire to confer with his colleague at home, and the call was overruled and Medrano was called safe. 

The Tigers went on to score the sixth and seventh runs on RBI singles by Emaily Whitmarsh and Omara Love. 

"That's softball," said Sullivan, who refused to say the controversial call cost the Indians the game. "I do know one thing. I wish I had 10 Savannah Shorts. She has been a leader and a great player for us all season." 

TRUMAN 17, RAYMORE-PECULIAR 1: Coach Dan Harper's Truman Patriots needed just four innings to post a mercy rule win over Ray-Pec in another district opener. 

"Their pitcher walked quite a few kids and our kids really hit the ball well and Mattie Sharp threw a nice game," Harper said. 

The Patriots (15-18) advance to play Lee's Summit West (20-10), a 3-0 winner over Belton, at 4 p.m. Thursday at Lee's Summit North High School. 

"I'm happy for our kids,” Harper said. “This is a nice win and we're looking forward to playing Lee's Summit West Thursday. It's always great to still be playing at this time of the year." 

LEE’S SUMMIT NORTH 15, RAYTOWN 0: Senior pitcher Cierra Harrison recorded her 1,000th career strikeout as Lee’s Summit North rolled to a first-round district win over Raytown Tuesday. 

Kelbi Meisenheimer, Logan Turner, Katelyn Ravasini, Ella Wright and May McCoy each had multiple hits in the rout.