By CONOR NICHOLL
Girard softball has enjoyed a longtime history of success. From 1999-2018, Girard posted a winning season every spring. Starting with 2002, the Trojans had state finishes of third, third, second, second, fourth, third, state champion in 2017 and third in ’18 with a 24-1 record.
However, Girard posted an 8-10 mark in ’19, the program’s fewest wins since the program’s inaugural season. After COVID cancelled 2020, the Trojans improved to 13-9 last spring. This year, Girard has continued the turnaround with an 11-1 start.
On March 22, Girard opened with a 15-0 victory versus Labette County. On March 25, the Trojans defeated Fort Scott, 13-3. For April 4, Girard beat Colgan, 5-0 and 10-4 in a doubleheader. Colgan is the two-time defending 2-1A state champions, though did graduate significant personnel losses after last spring.
On April 11, Girard defeated Pittsburg, 3-0. The next day, Girard beat Labette County, 7-3, and moved to 8-0.
For April 18, Girard had a huge doubleheader versus Frontenac, a team the Trojans could likely see in regionals. Girard split with Frontenac, also a longtime 3A power. The Trojans won 5-4 and lost, 8-1. On Thursday, Girard beat Baxter Springs, 13-3 and 14-0.
This week, Girard has a single game with Chanute on Tuesday, and then a huge doubleheader with Columbus on Thursday. The Baxter Springs regional (southeast Kansas), like most seasons, is stacked in softball. Seven of the eight teams have a winning record.
Columbus stands at 12-1, while Frontenac and Girard are both 11-1. Columbus split with Pittsburg last week in an 8-0 victory and 6-2 loss. Coach Jim Vinze has had a lengthy stint with the program whether as head coach or assistant. Girard has one senior, Lexy Robinson.
The Trojans have six juniors: Sam Brutchin, Sara Goble, Sydney Hessong, Lea McGown, Emmaline Senecaut and Bailey Troike. Plus, Girard has four sophomores: Hanna Bailey, Rylee and Peyton Brooks and Kali Powell. Girard graduated its lone all-league player, senior honorable mention infielder Alexis Jenkins.
In 2021, Girard went 0-3 against Frontenac, 0-2 versus Colgan and 1-1 versus Columbus. After COVID cancelled 2020, Girard was 0-2 versus Frontenac, 1-1 against Columbus and 0-2 against Colgan in 2019.
Senecaut and Troike earned second team and honorable mention honors in volleyball. In 2019, Girard went 12-1-1 and won the USSSA Class C state championship in summer softball in 14-under. Ten players were from Girard. Robinson, Senecaut, Troike, Brutchin, McGown, Hessong, and Bailey were all on the team, per a roster from KOAM news.