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Carroll brings back plenty of bats

Published March 26 at 8 p.m. | Last updated March 27 at 7:09 a.m.

With the majority of his top hitters back from a team that was one crazy inning away from winning consecutive Class 5A baseball titles, Bishop Carroll coach Charlie Ebright can’t deny the spoils of spring.

“It’s exciting to watch batting practice, that’s for sure,” Ebright said. “We’ve got some really talented hitters.”

But there’s an underlying tone to Ebright’s voice that suggests the Golden Eagles’ mighty bats could possess the sheen of fool’s gold. Carroll opens the 2014 season Thursday against Heights with two of its top pitchers from last season, Braden Larkey and Matt Henning, honing their craft at Independence Community College.

“Good pitchers can equalize good hitting on any day,” Ebright said. “We’ll take what we can get offensively, but we’re not going to count on it. You go in trying to stop the other team from scoring runs.”

To that end, Carroll will build its pitching staff around senior Jordan Miller. The 6-foot-3 right-hander won 13 of 15 decisions over the last two seasons, including victories over Topeka Seaman (2012) and Mill Valley (2013) in the 5A semifinals.

Miller, who has signed with Cowley Community College, was 7-1 with a 1.51 ERA last season.

“He’s going to keep us in every ballgame,” Ebright said. “We’re still trying to figure out which other guys we’re going to use and what situations we’re going to use them in.

“It’s a young staff, but they’re a pretty talented group of kids.”

Carroll, which sandwiched a 22-game winning streak in between a season-opening loss to Heights and a 10-3 loss to Seaman in the 5A championship, returns senior catcher Taylor Sanagorski to aid the pitchers in new roles. Sanagorski, a two-year starter, has signed with Wichita State.

“He has a good grasp on calling a game and how to work with pitchers,” Ebright said. “Individually, he knows what makes each one of them tick.”

Sanagorski and Miller also comprise part of what Ebright believes will be the most potent part of Carroll’s batting order. Senior outfielders Mack Gowing (.469 batting average, 10 for 10 stolen bases in 2013) and Bryce Fischer (.489, 23 RBIs) produced throughout last season, while Ebright has high expectations for junior outfielder Jarrett Johnson this season. Senior infielder Tyler Palmore, who batted .409, adds to the challenge for opposing pitchers.

“The depth and length of our lineup is going to be to our advantage,” Ebright said. “It wears on teams. I wouldn’t want to pitch to us.”

CITY LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYERS TO WATCH

East: Carlos Aldaz, sr.; Braeden Crockett, sr.; Jake Ewart, jr.; Corey Steward, jr.

Heights: Brett Carroll, sr.; Blake Day, sr.; Josh Farrington, sr.; Keylan Killgore, jr.; Curtis Whitten, jr.

Kapaun: Dan Meitzner, sr.; Mitchell Sheets, sr.; Allen Clark, jr.; Joe Lienhard, jr.

North: Everardo Escamilla, sr.; Indiana Elman, sr.; Beau Shockley, sr.; Emilio Escamilla, jr.

Northwest: Jared Gates, sr.; Wil Clark, jr.; Jordan Dingman, jr.; Josh Jones, jr.; Brenden Johnson, jr.

South: Luke Labus, jr.; Trevor Alexander, so.; Trent Smith, so.

Southeast: Josh Johnson, sr.; Brady Bluma, sr.; Xavier Sutton, sr.; Trevon Phillips, so.

West: Devin Daignault, sr.; Devan Extine, so.

AREA SCHEDULE

March

Thursday — Kapaun at Hays, Heights vs. Carroll (West Urban), East vs. North (McAdams), Mulvane at Augusta, McPherson at Rose Hill, Independent at Lakin. Friday — West vs. Northwest (West Urban), Eisenhower at Salina Central. 31 South vs. Kapaun (West Urban), West at Word of Life, McPherson at Andale, Rose Hill at Wellington, Douglass at Kingman, Sedan at Cedar Vale-Dexter.

April

1 — East, Manhattan at Derby triangular, South at Campus, Southeast vs. Heights (McAdams), Winfield at Clearwater, Independent at Lyons, Chase County at Moundridge. 3 – West vs. North (McAdams), Carroll vs. Northwest (West Urban), Goddard at Hutchinson, Rose Hill at Collegiate, Augusta at El Dorado, Wellington at Mulvane, Belle Plaine at Bluestem, Salina Sacred Heart at Trinity Academy. 4 — Garden City at Heights, East vs. Kapaun (West Urban), BV West vs. Maize South at Maize, BV West at Maize, Valley Center at Salina South, Andover Central at Newton, Douglass at Independent, Little River at Hillsboro. 5 – St. James Academy at Maize South, St. James Academy vs. Maize at Maize South. 7 – Andale at Mulvane, McPherson at Winfield, Clearwater at Rose Hill, McPherson at Winfield, Belle Plaine at Douglass, Chaparral at Bluestem, Cedar Vale-Dexter at Udall. 8 — South vs. West (West Urban), North vs. Southeast (West Urban), Goddard at Andover Central, Maize at Derby, Salina South vs. Campus (Plagens-Carpenter Stadium), Eisenhower at Arkansas City, Maize South at Andover, Hutchinson at Salina Central, Newton at Valley Center, Independent at Halstead, Independence at Trinity Academy, Hillsboro at Nickerson, Ell-Saline at Inman, Moundridge at Sedgwick. 10 – Kapaun vs. Carroll (West Urban), Northwest vs. Heights (McAdams), Clearwater at Buhler, Circle at McPherson, Andale at Winfield, Wellington at Augusta, Bluestem at Central-Burden, Chaparral at Douglass, Udall at Cedar Vale-Dexter. 11 – North at Garden City, Dodge City vs. South (West Urban), Andover at Goddard, Andover Central at Eisenhower, Valley Center at Maize South, Newton at Salina South, Campus at Maize, Inman at Little River, Marion at Moundridge. 14 — Southeast at South, Rose Hill at Buhler, Winfield at Mulvane, El Dorado at McPherson, Circle at Clearwater, Collegiate at Augusta, Bluestem at Douglass, Trinity Academy at Independent, Cedar Vale-Dexter at Flinthills. 15 – Northwest vs. North (McAdams), Carroll vs. East (West Urban), Goddard at Eisenhower, Newton at Derby, Valley Center at Andover Central, Campus at Andover, Salina South at Salina Central, Maize South at Arkansas City, Hutchinson at Maize, Hillsboro at Smoky Valley, Ell-Saline at Moundridge. 17 – Kapaun vs. Heights (McAdams), Carroll at South, Arkansas City at Derby, Andover at Newton, Andover Central vs. Campus (Plagens-Carpenter Stadium), Hays at Salina South, Kingman at Hillsboro, Inman at Sedgwick. 18 – Southeast at Dodge City, Maize vs. Northwest (West Urban), West at Sunrise. 21 — Mulvane at Collegiate, Augusta at McPherson, Clearwater at El Dorado, Circle at Rose Hill, Wellington at Winfield, Bluestem at Belle Plaine, Douglass at Trinity Academy, Medicine Lodge at Independent, Cedar Vale-Dexter at Elk Valley. 22 – Kapaun at Eisenhower, North at South, Heights vs. West (West Urban), Carroll at Goddard, Andover, Arkansas City at Hutchinson triangular, Andover Central at Maize South, Salina Central at Maize, Inman at Canton-Galva, Moundridge at Bennington. 24 — Carroll vs. Southeast (West Urban), Buhler at Mulvane, Andale at Clearwater, El Dorado at Winfield, Augusta at Circle, Bluestem at Independent, Cedar Vale-Dexter at Oxford. 25 – Northwest vs. East (West Urban), Olathe South vs. Maize at Lawrence, Hutchinson at Eisenhower, Arkansas City at Goddard, Derby at Salina South, Campus at Newton, Andover at Valley Center, Branson (Mo.) vs. Maize at Lawrence, Douglass at Chaparral, Canton-Galva at Hillsboro, Inman at Moundridge. 28 — Kapaun vs. North (McAdams), Southeast vs. West (West Urban), Mulvane at El Dorado, Buhler at McPherson, Clearwater at Augusta, Rose Hill at Winfield, Belle Plaine at Independent, Chaparral at Trinity Academy, Medicine Lodge at Bluestem, Central-Burden at Cedar Vale-Dexter. 29 – Heights vs. East (West Urban), South vs. Northwest (West Urban), Maize South at Goddard, Valley Center at Eisenhower, Derby at Andover Central, Newton at Hutchinson, Campus at Salina Central, Salina South at Maize, Hillsboro at Sunrise, Bennington at Inman, Canton-Galva at Moundridge.

May

1 — West vs. Carroll (West Urban), Winfield at Buhler, Clearwater at Collegiate, Mulvane at McPherson, El Dorado at Rose Hill, Belle Plaine at Trinity Academy, Douglass at Bluestem, Independent at Chaparral. 2 – Dodge City vs. East (West Urban), Heights at South, Eisenhower at Maize South, Derby at Campus, Hutchinson at Salina South, Andover Central at Andover, Salina Central at Newton, Arkansas City at Valley Center, Hillsboro at Pratt, Inman at Marion, Moundridge at Little River. 5 – Northwest vs. Kapaun (West Urban), East vs. Southeast (West Urban), Salina Central at Derby, Augusta at Andale, Medicine Lodge at Douglass, Trinity Academy at Bluestem, Moundridge at Inman, Cedar Vale-Dexter at West Elk. 6 – Eisenhower at Andover, Arkansas City at Andover Central, Maize at Newton, Hutchinson at Campus, Goddard at Valley Center, Haven at Hillsboro, Moundridge at Inman. 8 – East vs. West (West Urban), Kapaun vs. Southeast (West Urban), North vs. Heights (McAdams), Rose Hill at Mulvane, Maize South at Augusta, Wellington at Clearwater, Bluestem at Chaparral, Trinity Academy at Medicine Lodge. 9 – Northwest, Hutchinson, Olathe East at BV West quad, North, Valley Center at Campus triangular (Plagens-Carpenter Stadium), Carroll at Maize, Goddard at Hays tournament, Andover Central, Maize South, Winfield at Emporia tournament, McPherson at Salina South, Hillsboro at Halstead. 10 – Goddard at Hays tournament, Andover Central, Maize South, Winfield at Emporia tournament 12 — West vs. Kapaun (West Urban), Augusta at Buhler, Mulvane at Circle, Trinity Academy at Clearwater, Andale at Rose Hill, El Dorado at Valley Center, Independent at Sedgwick, Inman at Salina Sacred Heart. 13 – Heights at Dodge City, South vs. East (West Urban), North vs. Carroll (West Urban), McPherson at Salina Central, Derby at Hutchinson, Campus at Maize, Salina South at Maize South, Arkansas City at Winfield, Douglass at Belle Plaine, Lyons at Hillsboro, Herington at Inman. 14 – Southeast vs. Northwest (West Urban). 15 – Carroll, Newton at Eisenhower triangular, Winfield at Arkansas City, Maize at Hutchinson, Trinity Academy at Collegiate. 16 – Dodge City at Derby, Southeast vs. Garden City at Derby, Southeast at Derby. 19-22 — Regionals. 29-30 — State tournaments.