State baseball notes
Maize (16-6) – The Eagles won 14 of their last 17 games and earned their 13th trip to state in coach Rocky Helm’s 16 seasons. Senior Drew Johnson (7-1, 1.59 ERA) and junior Connor Lungwitz (5-1, 1.37) lead a staff that has produced 153 strikeouts. Senior Brady Hoover (4 HR, 26 RBIs) is the top power source for the Eagles, who have five regulars in their lineup batting .362 or better.
Northwest (12-10) – Coach Chris Lambert has led the Grizzlies to state in each of his two seasons. Northwest won a pair of one-run games in the regional, scoring the final four runs in a 7-6 victory over Derby in the final. Junior Wil Clark (.429), senior Jared Gates (.424, 15 RBIs) and junior Jordan Dingman (.422) are among five Grizzlies who have t least 20 hits.
Andover (15-7) – The Trojans’ only other state appearance came in 1989, and Andover ended the drought with an 11-0 victory over Salina South in the regional final. Junior Landon Fry (5-1, 2.47) threw a two-hitter in that game. Seniors Bryant Klusener (.411, 21 RBIs) and Miles Starks (.410, 2 HR, 15 SB) make up a solid middle infield.
Carroll (20-2) – The Eagles have played in three of the last four 5A title games and are the only City League school to win state baseball championships (2005 and ’12) since South in 1980. Jordan Miller (8-0, 1.40) is Carroll’s ace. A potent offense is led by seniors Mack Gowing (.500, 22 RBIs), Bryce Fischer (.485, 30 RBIs) and Wichita State signee Taylor Sanagorski (.429, 3 HR, 19 RBIs).
Eisenhower (19-3) – The Tigers return to state with a five-game winning streak. Sophomore Braden Minor was named the Gatorade Kansas Player of the Year after batting .542 and posting a 6-1 pitching record with a 1.88 ERA and 55 strikeouts. Senior Sam Hersh (6-0, 2.51) is another top pitcher, while Dustin Marx (.491, 23 RBIs) and Dalton Dinkel (.484, 22 RBIs) fuel Eisenhower’s .384 team average.
Wichita Heights (20-2) – A midseason loss to East cost the Falcons a share of the City League title, but Heights has won eight straight and matched a school record for regular-season victories. Outfielders Curtis Whitten (.453, 22 SB) and Creighton Sanders (.424, 11 SB) can cover the gaps. Pitchers Josh Farrington (7-0, 1.57) and Keylan Killgore (4-0, 1.44) each yielded just one run in regional victories.
Class 4A-Division I
Andale-Garden Plain (19-3) – After dominating the Ulysses regional, the Indians make their second consecutive state appearance and third overall with one of the state’s top pitchers. Wichita State signee Tyler Jones (7-0, 2 saves, 0.00) has allowed just 14 hits and five walks in 44 innings while striking out 68. Phil Savoie (.449, 14 RBIs) and Avery Roe (.433, 15 RBIs) lead the Indians in on-base percentage.
Andover Central (15-7) – The Jaguars will make their 10th state appearance in 13 years after outscoring Circle and El Dorado 25-0 in the regional. Nick Johnston (4-0, 0.75) is coming off a perfect game against Circle. Kier Stamp (.420, 27 RBIs), Blake Meier (.407, 13 RBIs) and Austin Clark (.370, 24 RBIs) are the top hitters for Central, which moved down in classification and last played at 4A state in 2007.
Rose Hill (15-7) – The Rockets shared the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail III title this year after winning five games in 2013. Sophomore Corey Cotten (5-0, 1 save, 1.36) pitched eight scoreless innings and senior Harrison Haydock had five hits in the regional. Rose Hill starts seven underclassmen, including freshmen Griffin McBride (.415, 15 RBIs) and Nate Scantlin (.388, 20 RBIs).
Class 4A-Division II
Trinity Academy (18-4) – The Knights outscored Nickerson and Clearwater 21-2 to roll to their second regional title in three seasons under coach Andy Frieze. Five seniors are regulars in Trinity’s lineup, including utility player Josh Palecki (.467, 5 HR). Sophomore third baseman Mitchell List (.513, 33 RBIs) has been an offensive force for Trinity, which is No. 2 in the 4A-II state coaches rankings.
Bluestem (16-7) – Bluestem was the No. 4 seed in its six-team regional, but advanced with a 5-4 semifinal victory over previously unbeaten Humboldt, then edged host Caney Valley 4-3 in the final. Junior Cooper Minnick (.630) plays a variety of positions, and has 11 extra-base hits and no strikeouts in 54 at-bats. Nick Saia kept Caney hitless for five innings to help Bluestem move on.
Lyons-Chase (18-5) – The Lions return to state after losing to 2013 champion Pittsburg Colgan in the quarterfinals. This year’s team is similar to coach Larry Kirkhart’s previous one in terms of victories (18) and seniors (two). Grady Kirkhart (7-2, 1.50) and Jacob Buckman (6-1) log most of the innings, while closer Ryan McClure (2-1, 2 saves) is Lyons’ top hitter with a .465 average.
Marion (22-1) – The Warriors escaped a challenging regional with one-run victories over Collegiate and Independent. Senior Taylor Heidebrecht (.603, 23 RBIs), who has 127 career hits, delivered the game-winning RBI in both games. Senior Grif Case (3-1, 1.88) and junior Bret Voth (6-0, 0.55) pitched complete games in the regional for Marion, which has won 11 in a row since a doubleheader split with Sedgwick.
Cedar Vale-Dexter (13-10) – Cedar Vale-Dexter qualified for the first time as a combined program. Cedar Vale last went to state in 2003, while Dexter advanced in 1991. The Spartans defeated No. 1 seed Flinthills 9-5 in the regional final. First baseman Kaden Boatman is batting a team-leading .461 and third baseman Noah Rhodd, who went 6 for 7 in the regional, hits .443.
Little River (18-5) – The Redskins shut out Chase County and Inman to earn their second trip to state. Tevin Renken, one of three senior starters, is the staff ace with a 6-1 record, 0.81 ERA and 92 strikeouts. Senior Zack Konen has a .772 on-base percentage, while juniors Cordell Moore (.403, 30 RBIs) and Kyler Cox (.417, 34 R) are also key parts of Little River’s offense.
Udall (23-0) – The Eagles will make their first state appearance as the No. 1 seed after avenging a loss to Medicine Lodge that ended their 2013 season, then walloping Minneola-Ashland 16-1 in the regional final. Sophomore Alex Perez (11-0, 1 save, 1.37) has been a workhorse with 95 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings. Another sophomore, Nolan Williams, bats .609 for a team that has scored 289 runs.