The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 29, 1998 · Page 15
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 15

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Friday, May 29, 1998
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THE SALlWA JOURNAL Sports SCOREBOARD / C2 COLLEGE WORLD SERIES / C3 NBA PLAYOFFS / C4 c T HIGH SCHOOL STATE SOFTBALL South takes aim at 5A state crown Cougars post early triumph by winning coin flip for top seed By BOB DAVIDSON The Salina Journal Salina South already has one "victory" under its belt entering the start of today's Class 5A state Softball tournament at the East Crawford Recreation Complex. Coach Daryl Hoelting and his players hope to tack on three more by the end of the weekend. The Cougars are the tournament's top seed by virtue of winning a coin toss with Maize earlier this week. Both teams are 20-2 entering the tournament, necessitating the flip. "Winning the coin toss was huge for us," Hoelting said. "It put us in the bracket opposite St. Thomas Aquinas, the defending champion, and Arkansas City. Aquinas won it last year and was third two years ago. Ark City has been (to state) every year we've gone and usually has an good team. Great Bend is there, too, and has gone to state he last five years. "I like where we're setting." South opens at 5 p.m., on Field A against eighth-seeded Independence (8-12). The Pirates participated in last year's tournament and were the eighth seed. Despite the apparent advantage, Hoelting is taking a cautious approach. "The coaches I talked to said they're above average, but not great," Hoelting said. "Their pitching is adequate, but not great. "They were here last year, so they must be doing something right. We're not taking them for granted. We won't let our kids talk about Saturday." To that end Hoelting is sending his top pitcher, senior Sara Mitchell, to the mound against Independence. Mitchell is 11-0 with a DAVIS TURNER/The Salina Journal Salina South pitcher Sara Mitchell will take an 11-0 record to the mound today against Independence in the 5A state tournament. 1.25 earned-run average. "We're pretending like it's the championship game and we're going to play every game like that," he said. "Hopefully, we'll get a four- or five-run lead and can bring in another pitcher." A victory would send South into Saturday's semifinals and a 11 a.m., game against the winner of tonight's 7 o'clock game between fourth-seeded Shawnee Heights (18-4) and Wichita Carroll (18-4). Heights qualified by knocking off Topeka Seaman. Seaman lost only two games during the season, both to Heights. The bottom bracket pits Maize against Aquinas (15-7) at 5 p.m., and third-seeded Ark City (18-4) against No. 7 Great Bend (17-5). The championship game is scheduled for 2 p.m., Saturday. The consolation game is set for 1 p.m. South, which is making its sixth consecutive state tournament ap- pearance, lost to Valley Center 1-0 in last year's quarterfinals. "We've talked about last year," Hoelting said. "We had a chance to take the lead, but didn't take advantage. But we had only one chance. We've got to hit the ball better." Hoelting says this year's team At Salina, East Crawford Today -,, t Field A: 5 p.m. — Independence, 8-12, vs. Salina South, 20; J 2; 7 p.m. — Bishop Carroll, 18-4j "C vs. Shawnee Heights, 18-4. Field B: S p.m. — St. Thomas Aquinas, 15-7, vs. Maize, 20-2; 7f ' p.m. — Great Bend, 17-5, vs7"" Arkansas City, 18-4. 4 ""-*t Saturday >,*" ; 11 a.m. — lndependence-Sal!r}a'»C South winner vs. Bishop Carro|^*t Shawnee Heights winne??**' Aquinas-Maize winner vs. Great* Bend-Arkansas City winner. \\ * 1p.m. — Consolation, Field B. .^A 2 p.m. — Championship, Field Aj^i *' ranks with the best he's had. "We're more experienced and defensively this is as good a team as we've had, even though we've made some errors," he said. "Our pitching may not be the best, bTft we've got three we're not afraid tt) throw (Mitchell, Kendra Harbaugh, Amanda Campbell). "If we can put some runs on the board, our pitching and defense will do the rest." One disadvantage is the 11-day layoff since the regional tournament. "You take that much time off and it's hard to stay sharp and crisp," Hoelting said. Versatile leadoff hitter Leah Wahlgren, the Cougars' third baseman, leads the team in hitting with a .444 average. She also has 24 runs batted in. Shortstop Jessica Watson, outfielder Andrea Heinrich arid catcher Katie Graham are all hitting around .350. "I'm optimistic," Hoelting said, "but so was KU (in the NCAA basketball tournament) and Wichita State (in last weekend's NCAA baseball regional). There are a lot of other good teams. There are no guarantees." Sacred Heart counting on offense in 2-1A run Young Knights seeded fifth in state tournament, take on Oswego this evening By BOB DAVIDSON The Salina Journal EMPORIA — Barry Fritz knows exactly what must happen for his Sacred Heart softball team to be successful in its game against Oswego in the Class 2-1A state tournament. "We need to get off to a good start," Fritz said. "We have such a young team, getting off to a good start settles us all down, including me. "A veteran team can get behind and come back. In a state tournament, young teams don't always know how to react." The Knights (14-5) are seeded fifth in the tournament and open against fourth-seeded Oswego (15-4) at 7 tonight at the Trusler FRITZ Complex. The winner plays the winner of the 5 p.m. game between top- seeded Elkhart (14-1) and No. 8 Inman (5-11) in the semifinals at 11 a.m., Saturday. Second-seeded Elk Valley (19-2) takes on No. 7 Rossville (10-9) at 5 p.m., and No. 3 Udall (17-4) plays No. 6 Frontenac (15-7) at 7 p.m., in the bottom bracket. The consolation game is scheduled for 1 p.m., and the championship at 2 p.m. Fritz is counting on the Knights' potent offense to carry the team. "We've got good hitters up and down the lineup," he said. "We pride ourselves in our offense. We try to outscore people and make the routine plays on defense. We work hard on offense." Sacred Heart is led by the top three hit- * Tournament pairings / Page C2 ters in its lineup — leadoff batter Kellen Ratcliff (.385 batting average), No. 2 hitter Sarah Weese (.527) and No. 3 hitter Anne Weese (.525). Sarah Weese is a freshman and Anne Weese and Ratcliff sophomores. The Knights also have gotten solid production from cleanup hitter Courtney Ash, the lone junior on the team, No. 5 hitter Karris Ratcliff, the only senior, and No. 6 hitter Lisa Broberg, a freshman. Fritz says Oswego and Sacred Heart are similar. "They've got good pitching," he said. "They beat bad teams badly and play with good teams. They hit the ball well and are young, just like us." Fritz, who is in his fifth year with the Knights, said he will send freshman Elizabeth Wagoner to the mound tonight. Wagoner has a 5-2 record. Fritz likes the Knights' chances as well as anyone's. "In past years, it's been the usual teams ' that go to state," he said. "Rossville is there every year, but they're the seventh seed this year. It's wide open. "I like where we are in the bracket, even though we're in with the No. 1 seed. The bottom bracket is loaded." Sacred Heart has been to the state tournament two previous times in the program's eight-year history. The Knights finished second in 1994 and third in 1995. Class 4A at Manhattan The Chapman Irish are\ the Cinderella team of the tournament being played at the Twin Oaks complex in Manhattan. The Irish (7-16) are seeded eighth and face top-seeded Burlington (20-2) at 5 p.m., today. Chapman won a regional quarterfinal game early last week, then last Friday de- feated top-seeded Council Grove 2-1 and second-seeded Abilene 5-1 in the regional tournament at Council Grove. The Irish fell behind 1-0 in the top of the seventh against Council Grove, but scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to win the game. The winning run coming home on a bases-loaded walk to Brandy Trower that scored Mandy Heller. Maria Peck singled home Jessy Knudson with the tying run. Mindi Ifland drove in two runs and scored a third in the victory over Abilene. Marci Edwards and Stacy Foltz were the winning pitchers for Chapman. •«— Another upset victory would send Chapman into Saturday's semifinals and a'vlO a.m. game against the winner of tonights game between Columbus (19-4) and Marysville (17-5). * Pratt (20-3) plays Basehor-Linwood (147) and DeSoto (19-2) takes on Mulvane (17r 6) in the bottom bracket. T HIGH SCHOOL STATE BASEBALL Southeast faces tough road in 3A tournament Neodesha to throw outstanding pitcher at Trojans in opener By ARNE GREEN Tlie Salina Journal Dee Kolzow doesn't expect any gifts this weekend when his Southeast of Saline team travels to Topeka for the Class 3A state baseball tournament. But then again, the Trojans haven't taken the easy road all season. Southeast will face one of the state's top pitchers today when it meets 12-2 Neodesha in a 1:30 p.m. first-round game at Washburn University's Falley Field. The Trojans bring a 15-7 record into the tournament. In other first-round games today, Galena (14-8) plays defending champion Silver Lake (17-1) at 11 a.m., Jefferson West (13-6) meets Central Heights (16-3) at 4 p.m. and Hoisington (9-11) plays Oxford (19-1) at 6:30. The Galena-Silver Lake winner will play the Southeast- Neodesha winner at 10 a.m. Saturday while the other two win- • Pairings / Page C2 * 2-1A state preview / Page C3 ners meet in the second semifinal at 12:30 p.m. The third-place game is scheduled for the 3 p.m. and the championship for 5:30. To play on the second day, Southeast must get past Neodesha and ace pitcher Willie Johnson, a left-hander with a 7-0 record and a 1.40 earned run average. The Bluestreaks also have five players hitting .400 or better. "I hear (Willie) Johnson is an outstanding pitcher," Kolzow said. "I know their first five hitters are strong, that their leadoff hitter has good speed and that they're a pretty good defensive team. I'm sure they're a real good ballclub, but they're all going to be at the state tournament. "If we can just relax and play ball, whatever happens, happens. I'll never count our kids out against any of them." See TROJANS, Page C3 T HIGH SCHOOL STATE BASEBALL No clear favorite in 5A baseballs Great Bend confident after surviving rugged regional final vs. Hays By HAROLD BECHARD The Salina Journal After what Great Bend went through at regionals, can the Class 5A state baseball tournament be any tougher? The Panthers (15-7) stunned No. 1-ranked Hays 3-2 in the regional championship game last week to advance to the state tournament, which opens today at Evans Stadium. "It's as big a win as I've had here in eleven years, and that includes the state championship (in 1995)," Great Bend head coach Jeff Langrehr said. "Hays had a fantastic team. It was a great game." But it will be Great Bend (15-7) making its sixth state tournament appearance in eight years today when it faces Valley Center (14-8) in an 11 a.m. first-round game. The game will be followed by the 1:30 p.m. game featuring St. Thomas Aquinas (15-7) and Arkansas City (15-7). Shawnee Heights (12-10) and Wichita Carroll (16-6) meet at 4 p.m. and top- seeded Fort Scott (17-3) plays Topeka Seaman (9-12) at 6:30. Langrehr, whose team is on a At Salina, Evans Stadium Today 11 a.m. — Valley Center, 14-8, vs. Great Bend, 15-7; 1:30 p.m. — St. Thomas Aquinas, 15-7, vs. Arkansas City, 15-7; 4 p.m. — Shawnee Heights, 12-10, vs. Bishop Carroll, 16-6; 6:30 p.m. —Topeka Seaman, 9-12, vs. Fort Scott, 17-3. Saturday 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. — Valley Center- Great Bend winner vs. Shawnee Heights-Bishop Carroll winner; Aquinas- Arkansas City winner vs. Topeka-Seaman-Fort Scott winner. 3 p.m. — Consolation game. 5:30 p.m. — Championship. six-game winning streak, sees the tournament as a wide-open affair. "Our guys understand if they play well, they can beat anybody," Langrehr said. "But they also know if they don't play well, they can be beaten by anyone." The Panthers have been a good hitting team throughout the season. Junior first baseman and pitcher Pablo Maciel is hitting a sizzling .560 and junior left fielder Jeff Dunlap is batting .450. Langrehr isn't sure who he will start on the mound today. He said the Panthers have five pitchers of equal ability. The winner of the Valley Center- Great Bend game will face the Shawnee Heights-Carroll winner at 10 a.m. Saturday in the semifinals. Shawnee Heights lost in the first round of the 6A state tourney last year and in 1995 and won the state title in 1994, while Carroll finished third in last year's 5A state meet. Arkansas City will try to improve one spot this year. The Bulldogs (15-7) have finished as the state runner-up the last two years. "We'd like nothing better," Ark City head coach Jack Crumbliss said. "But we have to get there first, and we certainly have to win that first game." Arkansas City beat Aquinas 9-1 in the first round last year. "But they were a young team," Crimbliss said. "We expect them to be a very good team this year." After some injury problems, the Bulldogs enter the state tournament with an eight-game winning streak. Tanner Welch, who has signed with Wichita State, missed 10 games with a stress fracture. He is hitting .500 — he plays shortstop when he isn't pitching — and is 3-0 on the mound. The Bulldogs are also led at the plate by center fielder Collin Yoachim (.405) and outfielder- pitcher Michael Hayes (.400). Aquinas (15-7) would also like to take that next step today. The Saints have lost in the first round of the state tournament three consecutive years. The Ark City-Aquinas winner will face the Fort Scott-Seaman winner in a 12:30 p.m. semifinal game Saturday. Fort Scott (17-3) enters the tournament with the best record, but David Regan doesn't see his team as the favorite. "I'd call us an average team that plays hard, and good things have happened to us," Regan said. "In the last few years, we had young kids playing. Now they are seniors and their hard work has paid off." It has been a family affair for Regan this season. His nephew — Arkansas signee Adam LaRoche (7-0, 0.99 ERA) — is the team's, top player. His two sons — senior third baseman Josh Regan and sophomore catcher Andy Regan — also start. LaRoche is hitting .560 and Josh Vanderpool .420. Vanderpool is 6-1 as a pitcher and Matt Lancaster 40. The Bulldogs' top three pitchers are left-handers. Topeka Seaman defeated Salina South and Topeka West to reach the state tournament. The Vikings lost in the 6A championship game in 1996 and fell in the first round in '95. SUGGESTIONS? CALL BOB DAVIDSON, SPORTS EDITOR, AT (785) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sjbdavldson@saljournal.com

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