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Wellington softball team off to state for the first time since 1995

Ryleigh Buck is greeted at home after lifting Crusaders to a 2-1 lead after homer in bottom of sixth.

Ryleigh Buck is greeted at home after lifting Crusaders to a 2-1 lead after homer in bottom of sixth.

by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — It was 1995. Bill Clinton was President. The Grunge sound was alive. Wellington was about to embark on a number of public projects like the building of the pool, downtown renovation. The new high school was still almost a decade away.

And the Wellington girls softball team made it to the state tournament.

It would be the last time a softball team would go to the state tournament until 2016, when Wellington will be making its triumphant return.

The 2016 Crusaders are off to Salina after winning the regional championship in Worden Park Wednesday evening with a 3-1 victory over Winfield. Earlier in the day, Wellington would run-rule Mulvane 15-5 in five innings. The state tournament bracket has yet to be set but the Lady Dukes will play Thursday, March 26 in a single-elimination eight-team bracket.

On Wednesday, Wellington had to come-from-behind after Winfield opened the game with a lead-off home run by senior sensation Kelsey Phillips. Winfield led 1-0 and it would loom large for 6 1/2 innings.

Madi Lewellen is winning pitcher in regional championship

Madi Lewellen is winning pitcher in regional championship

Wellington’s winning pitcher Madi Lewellen nor the tenacious Crusader defense would allow another run the rest of the ball game. But the Lady Dukes weren’t manufacturing any offense on the other end either for the first five innings.

In the top of the fifth, Winfield had girls on second and third with no outs, but Lewellen would strike out two swinging and left fielder Avery Rusk would make a diving catch to end the inning with no runs scored.

Still, Wellington went into the bottom of sixth with the season on the brink.

But resiliency has been a trademark of this Wellington team, and the Crusaders had made two comebacks against this same Viking team in the regular season.

This would be no different. Madi Adams opened the inning with a single. She advanced to second on an Avery Rusk sacrifice bunt and then a throwing error passed second base sent Adams home.

But Wellington wasn’t done. University of Central Florida bound player Ryleigh Buck, who has a .623 batting average and a .702 on-base percentage, stepped to the plate and knocked the ball over the center-field fence.

She had been close before on two previous occasions but the balls fell short for pop-up flies.

“I have been around softball long enough to know that the second I heard the smack that it was going to go over the fence,” said T.D. Buck, Wellington head girls softball coach.

That made it 2-1 Wellington, but the Crusaders were not done. Brooke McCorkle would single. Then Erin Goodrum singled and Jacelyn Buck would single pinch runner Gracie Fink home to give the Crusaders a 3-1 lead going into the top of the seventh.

Brooke McCorkle gets big catch in top of fifth.

Brooke McCorkle gets big catch in top of fifth.

The Wellington defense then made quick work of the No. 7, 8, and 9 batters to secure the crown.

With the win, Wellington girls athletics have pulled off the trifecta for team-oriented sports. Crusader teams have gone to state in volleyball, basketball and softball, a feat that has never occurred in girls athletics — not to mention four girls going to state in tennis.

It’s been a long time since 1995. But the thing about history is there is something new every day.

———

In the earlier first-round regional game, Wellington had no trouble knocking out Mulvane – a team it split with during the regular season. Brooke McCorkle was the winning pitcher allowing six hits, two walks and striking out two.

The Crusaders would generate 15 hits that included a home run by Baylee DeJarnett and a double by Avery Rusk and Erin Goodrum.

Wellington opened with a 2-0 lead, but Mulvane came back to tie it in the top of the third. Then Wellington exploded with four runs in the bottom half of third and four runs in fourth. Leading 10-5 going into the bottom half of the fifth, Wellington would generate five runs to secure the run rule.

See full photo gallery here.

Regional first round: Wellington 15 Mulvane 5
1 2 3 4 5 R H E
Mulvane 0 0 2 1 2 5 6 0
Wellington 2 0 4 4 5 15 15 2
Winning pitcher – McCorkle- Wellington
Pitching IP #P S% H R ER K BB HR
Brooke McCorkle  5 86 0.64 6 5 2 2 2 0
Wellington batting stats
Lineup AB R H RBI BB K
Avery Rusk  4 0 1 1 1 2
Baylee DeJarnett  4 3 3 1 0 0
Ryleigh Buck  2 4 2 0 2 0
Brooke McCorkle  2 0 1 1 1 0
Taylor Zimmerman  0 2 0 0 0 0
Erin Goodrum  2 2 1 1 2 0
Jacelyn Buck  4 3 3 3 0 0
Abby Goodrum  3 1 1 2 0 0
Madi Lewellen  4 0 2 5 0 0
Madi Adams  3 0 1 0 1 0
Jenna Rausch 
McKenna Oathout 
Totals 28 15 15 14 7 2
Regional Championship: Wellington 3 Winfield 1
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Winfield 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 1
Wellington 0 0 0 0 0 3 X 3 6 0
Winning pitcher – Lewellen- Wellington
Pitching IP #P S% H R ER K BB HR
Madi Lewellen  7 92 0.63 4 1 1 4 2 1
Wellington batting stats
Lineup AB R H RBI BB K
Avery Rusk  2 0 0 0 0 1
Baylee DeJarnett  3 0 0 0 0 1
Ryleigh Buck  3 1 1 1 0 0
Brooke McCorkle  2 0 2 0 1 0
Gracie Fink  0 1 0 0 0 0
Erin Goodrum  3 0 1 1 0 2
Jacelyn Buck  3 0 1 0 0 1
Taylor Zimmerman  3 0 0 0 0 2
Madi Lewellen  2 0 0 0 0 0
Madi Adams  2 1 1 0 0 0
McKenna Oathout 
Totals 23 3 6 2 1 7

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