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Baseball/Softball in KS: M.Hill, B. Plaine breakout

Maur Hill-MA is having a big year.
By: Conor Nicholl for Sports in Kansas w/ Chet Kuplen
May 3, 2021

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By CONOR NICHOLL for Sports in Kansas w/ Chet Kuplen

This week marks the last full week of the regular season for many teams. Regional play for the majority of the state starts May 17. This week, SIK looks at several intriguing softball/baseball teams that have not been featured yet this year. Plus, a quick recap of the top records for each class and regional.

All records and standings per KSHSAA entering Monday night unless otherwise noted.

We start this week with Maur Hill baseball:

2-1A Baseball: Maur Hill down a classification, looks for rare state appearance, Drew Caudle/Aaron Noll in running for POY; Beagle with 45/0 K/BB ratio

Maur Hill, located in Atchison, has consistently been a strong Class 3A squad under veteran coach Phil Baniewicz. Before the pandemic cancelled 2020, Maur Hill delivered records of 13-9, 16-7, 12-10, 12-8, 17-4 and 19-1 in six years.

In 2019, Maur Hill won 19 straight games and then lost, 13-6, to Sabetha at regional. Sabetha has won back-to-back 3A state titles. Maur Hill has never won a state baseball championship. The 2006 squad finished second, which is the lone trip to the state tournament, according to KSHSAA archives.

This season, MH likely stands a much better chance of reaching the state tournament as the Ravens are in 2-1A. In the Valley Falls regional, Maur Hill is 15-1 and Valley Falls is 14-1. Those are the only two squads in that regional at .500 or better. Those two teams split a doubleheader on April 8. Maur Hill won the first game, 7-3, and lost the second contest, 2-1. Since then, Maur Hill is 9-0, has won every game by at least eight runs – and permitted just seven total runs.

In 2019, Maur Hill posted a .370 batting average, a .515 on-base percentage, 154 stolen bases and a 2.29 earned-run average. Aaron Noll hit .480 as a sophomore. He was the only one of the top-seven hitters back for ’21 with at least five at-bats. Drew Caudle, as a freshman, was 4-1 with a 3.46 earned-run average in 11 appearances.

This year, Maur Hill has outscored teams, 226-21. MH has collectively hit .414 with a .532 on-base percentage. The Ravens have been outstanding with pitching and defense. Maur Hill has a 0.99 earned-run average and .970 fielding percentage.

Caudle has delivered a huge season with a .558 average with 13 extra-base hits with nine doubles, two triples and two homers. Caudle has driven in 29 runs. He and Noll are strong candidate for 2-1A SIK Player of the Year. Caudle comes from an impressive family of athletes, including his father and older brothers.

Junior Christian Trevino carries a .525 average with eight extra base hits. Noll has continued his excellent career with a .509 average and 10 extra base hits. Sophomore Parrish Beagle carries a .418 average with nine extra base hits. Beagle has 20 steals, and senior Kolbran Korbelik has 19 steals.

On the mound, Noll is 7-0 with a 0.50 ERA, while Caudle is 4-0 with a 0.82 ERA. Beagle stands at 3-1 with a 0.58 ERA with two saves. Beagle has thrown 24 innings and has an incredible 45/0 strikeout to walk ratio. Caudle has a 55/14 rate in 25.2 innings. Noll has a 41/9 rate in 28 innings.

Beagle took the loss against Valley Falls, though threw a complete game with two runs on seven hits allowed, along with nine strikeouts against zero walks.

2-1A Softball: Belle Plaine enjoying breakthrough season; milestone wins against Medicine Lodge, Kingman and Cheney

In the 2-1A Sedan regional, Cedar Vale-Dexter stands at 15-2, Central-Burden is 13-4 and Belle Plaine is 12-4. Of the eight teams in the regional, seven are South Central Border League squads. Belle Plaine is the lone Central Plains League squad and has a stronger strength of schedule.

Belle Plaine coach Brian Seba was 31-45 entering this year. BP returned more players than most after the cancellation of last spring. Seniors Cheyenne Cooper, Tori Lijan, Tori Baker and juniors Emma George, Tory Talbot, Natalie Forester and Kennedy Glover are all key returners. Cooper hit .463 and Lijan carried a .520 average in ’19.

BP is 2-4 against Clearwater, Kingman/Norwich and Cheney. Those three teams are a combined 37-5 when not playing Belle Plaine. On April 8, Belle Plaine split with Kingman with a 14-4 loss and an 11-10 win. Last Thursday, Belle Plaine split with Cheney in a 2-0 loss and an 8-6 victory.

That is Cheney’s only loss in girls’ basketball or softball this school year. Many of the Cardinals’ top girls are key players in both sports.

Before then, Belle Plaine was 1-8 in its last nine meetings when Cheney dating back to 2010. As well, BP was 0-3 against Kingman in the last three years before the win.

Belle Plaine beat Medicine Lodge, 9-4 and 10-0, on April 19. Before then, BP was 3-31 in its last 34 meetings versus ML. On April 15, also swept Douglass. Before then, Belle Plaine was 5-14 in its last 19 games against Douglass.

Belle Plaine standout freshman Delaynie Esterly has enjoyed a huge year. She carries a .481 average, including two homers. Freshman Gabby Lujan has a .440 average. Sophomore Josie Walker carries a .408 average with 11 doubles. George, Talbot, Glover, Cooper and Lujan are hitting .311 or better.

Talbot is excellent in the circle with a 3-0 record with a 0.33 earned-run average with 19 strikeouts against one walk in 21.1 innings. Lujan is 3-2 with 42.1 innings. Talbot carries a 1-1 record with a 2.45 ERA with 25.2 innings. All three pitchers threw in the Cheney win, and Talbot worked 1.2 scoreless innings with four strikeouts.

Mia Brown with incredible comeback for Frontenac

Comeback of the year? Mia Brown, sophomore of Frontenac, suffered a terrible leg injury in volleyball that would have her out for her entire sophomore season. Many thought it may even be longer. Tibula/fiubla snap fracture and dislocation, now with a metal rod in her leg. Brown has done the unthinkable by putting in hours and hours of PT to get herself ready for the season to play. Not only did she do that, she has put herself in position to be one of the top 3A players/pitchers in Kansas so far this season with a 12-4 record (2.85 ERA) in the circle for 2021. She is also hitting ..413 with a .793 slugging, three doubles, three triples, three home runs and 22 RBI. Such an inspirational story on Brown. Frontenac is a serious contender in 3A under HC Cassie Rhuems. The Raiders won the last title in 3A in 2019 over Silver Lake. Heather Arnett has been one of the top players in any class this season as a junior. 

4A Softball: Clearwater enjoying huge year with multiple collegiate signings; Woods with great power

Clearwater has one state tournament appearance since 2000, per KSHSAA archives. That is a state runner-up in 2014. In 2019, the Indians finished 14-8 and returned a high volume of key players: seniors Macie McCray, Ireland Cotton, Briona Woods, Chloe Middleton, and Makenzie Haslett, plus juniors Hayley Gerberding and Kayleigh Herdman. Clearwater has freshman Elizabeth Tjaden, a terrific player in basketball and softball. Overall, the Indians have seven seniors.

Woods has inked with national power Butler County Community College. Middleton has signed with NOC-Enid (Okla.) softball. On April 28, Haslett signed with Neosho County Community College.

Clearwater has averaged more than 12 runs a game, including a sweep against Augusta (12-11, 16-4) on Monday. Woods, Tjaden and Herdman all hit homers. Clearwater delivered 33 hits in the doubleheader. Clearwater was swept by Andale-Garden Plain on April 26, though Woods hit a two-run homer.

On April 22, Clearwater enjoyed homers from Middleton and Haslett. Versus Buhler on April 19, Woods homered twice and Haslett homered once. On April 12, Woods homered twice versus El Dorado, along with homers from Tjaden and junior Tess Winter. Woods homered versus Belle Plaine on March 29.

Big Stat Performers

Jace Bachman is hitting .679 for Lakin this season with 36 hits over 15 games for the Broncs. Hunter Davis, an all-state basketball player, is hitting .591.

Avery Johnson continues to impress as one of the states top multiple sports athletes. Hes one of the best QBs nationally in the class of 2023, all-state in basketball and now hitting .641 for the Maize Eagles in 5A this season.  Just a sophomore.

Karsten McKee is having a breakout season for Pleasanton (2-1A) with 22 hits over 12 games this season. 

Nolan Crumrine continues to impress for 2-1A Sedgwick with a .579 average this season. He's also 5-0 on the mound with 60 strikeouts in 29 innings pitched. Teammate Lance Hoffsommer (.553 AVG) is also having a big year and is one of the top returning QBs in the state. Austin Harjo is also hitting .541 for the Cardinals. 

Ely Wilcox is having a monster senior season for Augusta. He is all-state in two sports already and is hitting .565with 26 hits, 17 RBI and 17 runs scored. He has great size at 6'5" 210 lbs.

Keaton Marcotte has five home runs and is hitting .473 with 26 hits and 31 RBI for Mission Valley (16-0). 

Jackson Stonestreet and Oscar Gallardo are having very good seasons for Bishop Carroll each hitting over .550 for the Golden Eagles. Ethan Stucky also hitting .543

Easton Long is having a big senior year for Scott City with 24 hits over 16 games for a .522 average as the Beavers are 13-3.

Girard has shown some power this year in 3A with Wyatt Foley (3 homers), Kaden Harrison (3 homers), Alex Coester (two home runs) and Logan Thomas (one home run). With the lineup they have and solid pitching from Thomas and Caden Lallamend the Trojans are a team to watch in 3A. 

Baseball Teams w/ high batting averages: Bishop Carroll .443, Mission Valley. 442, Fredonia .434, Independence .429, Maur Hill .414, Maize .411, Pleasanton .407, Moundridge .405, Inman .403, Southeast of Saline .402 

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Softball big stat leaders

Amie Yoder is hitting .711 this season for Haven with 27 hits over 14 games played. Maguire Estill has picked up seven wins in the circle with 62 strikeouts in 40 innings pitched. She is also hitting .558 with 18 RBI on 24 hits. 

Talyn Beltran of Lakin is hitting .704 this season for the Lakin Broncs. Teammate Taegan Bachman is hitting .660. Jaya Esquibel also over .650 on the season.

Kendall Forbes is hitting .688 this season with 22 hits and 22 RBI for Bishop Carroll as a junior. The middle infielder is one of the top players in 5A. Teammate Kiley Brewster is hitting .622 on the season with 23 hits. 

Sadey Walker is hitting .675 for Holton this year with 54 hits. 54 hits leads all classes of Kansas this year. Teammate Brooke Flewelling is hitting .587 with 37 hits. Holton is a serious team to watch in 4A with a lot of power. Walker is also 10-0 in the circle.

Morgan Tomlinson is 9-0 in the circle with 98 strikeouts in 67.1 innings pitched with a 0.94 ERA. 

Annalee Kealey of Wichita Heights is hitting .702 this season with 33 hits over 14 games. 

Jenna Richardson of Cedar Vale/Dexter is hitting .708 this season with 34 hits over 15 games. Kaitlynn ANderson is hitting .569 for the team.  Anderson has 163 strikeouts.

Hayden Serna has 179 strikeouts and 10 wins in the circle for Osage City. The UCM committ carries a 1.30 ERA and is hitting .576. 

Teams with high batting averages: Council Grove .555, Bishop Carroll .549, Lakin .508, Scott City .491, Holton, .484, Marion .473, Cedar Vale Dexter .459, Haven .451, Spearville .448, Uniontown .424

SOFTBALL TOP TEAMS BY RECORD

The top 6A East teams are Olathe North (12-2), Gardner-Edgerton (11-2) and Blue Valley (10-5). As normal, the Sunflower League, the state’s best conference for softball, has yielded 6A East parity. Eight teams are 7-7 or better, and two other Sunflower League squads stand at 7-9 and 6-8.

On 6A West, Topeka High (18-0) continues to put together the state’s best resume. Lawrence Free State, the two-time defending 6A champion, is 12-1. Garden City and Dodge City are both 11-1. Washburn Rural, the lone team to beat Free State, is 10-2. Wichita Northwest stands at 10-2, and Derby is 13-3. Campus is a surprising 9-3.

In 5A East, Spring Hill is 16-0. Then, Shawnee Heights is 15-3, Topeka Seaman stands at 11-3, Basehor-Linwood is 11-3, and Blue Valley Southwest is 11-3. Pittsburg is 9-4. For 5A West, Bishop Carroll is 12-0 and Andover stands at 12-0. Valley Center is a surprising 13-5.

In 4A, Holton has already completed its regular season at 19-1 with an average score of 13-2. Holton, like Topeka High, Free State and Spring Hill, has been featured on SIK already this spring.

No other 4A East team is better than 11-3. Miege and Wamego are 11-3, and Ottawa is 10-3.

The 4A West has Clay Center at 15-1, Andale-Garden Plain at 14-2 and Clearwater with 15-3. Clay Center has pitcher Clara Edwards, headed to Division I South Dakota. Andale-GP, a longtime power, has Kyla Eck, headed to Division I University of the Pacific.

In 3A, Prairie View leads the Burlington regional at 10-3, while Osage City is 11-4 and has Hayden Serna, headed to Central Missouri softball.

In the Cheney regional, Cheney is 13-1 with just an April 22 split against Belle Plaine. Cheney beat Belle Plaine, 2-0, and lost 8-6. Kingman/Norwich is 13-3.

After Monday, Cheney improved to 15-1. Cheney beat Mulvane, 5-4 and Cheney, 10-2. In the 5-4 victory, Ace Korri Lies improved to 8-0 with a complete game. She struck out 10 and permitted five hitrs. Kylee Scheer delivered three hits, and Jailyn Adolph hit an inside-the-park homer.

In the 10-2 win, Lies picked up the victory, and Elina Bartlett delivered the save. Bartlett had two triples, and Lexi Cline had a great catch in the right field to end the game.

The Frontenac and Hesston regionals have received plenty of attention already this spring. Columbus is 13-3, followed by host Frontenac (14-4), Baxter Springs (9-6), Caney Valley (8-6), Galena (9-7) and Girard (9-7). At Hesston, Haven is 13-1, while Smoky Valley is 13-2, Southeast of Saline stands at 12-4, and Hillsboro is 10-6.

At Larned, Russell-Victoria leads at 14-2, and Hoisington/Central Plains stands at 11-3. In Marysville, Rock Creek is 10-4, Rossville is 7-3 and Nemaha Central is 11-5. At Scott City, host Scott City is 14-2.

The 3A Silver Lake regional has Oskaloosa (16-1) and longtime power Silver Lake (13-3). Oskaloosa was featured last week at SIK.

In Class 2-1A, Ell-Saline paces its own regional at 11-3, and Ellis is 10-6. Ellis standout freshman Kaydawn Haag returned from an injury suffered in the state wrestling championship. Ellis is 7-1 in its last eight games, including a quality split versus Russell/Victoria.

At Hutchinson Trinity, Marion is 13-1, while Sedgwick is 13-3. At Leon-Bluestem, Yates Center is 17-1, and Burlingame stands at 11-3.  Jayhawk-Linn, a final four team two years ago, is 16-0. The Pittsburg-Colgan regional has received plenty of attention. Humboldt is 15-2, followed by Colgan (14-3), Arma-Northeast (14-4), and Oswego (13-5).

Cedar Vale-Dexter (15-2) paces the Sedan regional. Spearville (15-1) leads its own regional, while Bucklin/Coldwater is 10-4. The teams split a pair of one-run games April 6. At Riverside, Mission Valley is 15-1, and Troy stands at 12-2.

BASEBALL TOP TEAMS BY RECORD 

In 6A, Gardner-Edgerton stands at 16-1, followed by Olathe West at 14-1, and Blue Valley with a 13-1 mark. On the West, Manhattan leads at 11-2. Derby stands at 13-3, Wichita West is 12-3, and Dodge City is 12-3. West lost a pair of key City League games to 5A Bishop Carroll with 2-1 and 5-1 losses on April 27.

Class 5A East is very close with six teams at 10-5 or better. Blue Valley Southwest leads at 9-1, and Topeka Seaman stands at 13-3. For the 5A West, Andover Central and Bishop Carroll are 13-1, and Hays High is 10-2. Eight teams are 10-6 or better.

In 4A East, Paola stands at 14-1, and Atchison is 8-2. Pratt leads 4A West at 14-3. Three teams are 11-3 – Buhler, McPherson and Clay Center. Augusta is 12-4, and Towanda-Circle is 11-5.

In 3A, Scott City is 13-3 and headlines the Colby regional. At the Columbus regional, Baxter Springs is 13-3, Caney Valley stands at 12-4, and Girard stands at 13-5. Frontenac is also having a great year in the same regional as the previous four teams mentioned and could very much be a contender.

Southeast of Saline leads the Council Grove and stands at 15-1. The Anderson County regional as Fredonia/Elk Valley at 9-1, and AC is 13-3. The Thomas More Prep regional is close with the top five teams between 9-4 and 6-6.

The Kingman regional as Wichita Collegiate (12-2), Kingman/Norwich (13-3) and Cheney (10-4). Oskaloosa has Santa Fe Trail at 11-3. Rock Creek features all but one team at .500 or better – Rock Creek (12-2), Nemaha Central (13-3), Silver Lake (11-3), Sabetha (14-5) lead.

In 2-1A, Cherokee-Southeast (11-4) paces Arma-Northeast regional, followed by Pittsburg-Colgan at 8-6. Colgan will be the favorite and plays one of the toughest 2-1A schedules. 

The Ellis regional is extremely strong with Ellis (12-0), Inman (16-2) and Little River (11-3). At Humboldt, Colony-Crest is 15-1 and was recently featured on SIK. Lebo/Waverly is 14-2, and Southern Lyon County is 11-4, and Jayhawk-Linn is 10-4. Mission Valley is 16-0 and easily paces Lyndon regional.

At Marion, Sedgwick easily leads at 13-1. With Medicine Lodge, defending 2019 champion Elkhart is 12-2, and Bucklin/South Central stands at 12-5. Central-Burden paces Udall with 13-0.


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