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Three Storylines to Watch For at State Baseball


By Brad Hallier


HUTCHINSON, Kan. – Although area schools are prevalent at the Class 2-1A state baseball tournament this week, just one other area school made it to a state baseball tournament and that’s reigning Class 4A champion McPherson.

Here are three storylines to watch for at state baseball tournaments, which start at five sites on Thursday morning.

Little River tested for a rugged field in Class 2-1A

What a time it must be for Little River fans. Football, volleyball, basketball and baseball are state contenders it seems annually.

The baseball team is one of the best in 2-1A. Little River navigated a tricky regional last week at Hutchinson’s Hobart-Detter Field, as Little River gave up just four runs in three games. Little River beat a good Salina Sacred Heart team 4-1 in the regional finals.

The reward for Little River is the No. 1 seed, but it’s not all roses as Little River must take on perennial power Pittsburg-Colgan in the first round at 11 a.m. Thursday in Great Bend. Colgan has won 19 state championships but none since 2016. Little River has ample pitching depth, so if it can get by Colgan, a deep run is likely.

McPherson just keeps winning

It’s been a remarkable athletics year for McPherson. State semifinals in football. Third place in boys soccer. State runner-up in boys basketball and girls basketball. Now, the Bullpups have made state in baseball, softball and girls soccer. The only thing missing is a state championship.

McPherson baseball is the reigning 4A state champion and is in good shape for a repeat. The Bullpups are the No 3 seed and open the state tournament at 1:15 p.m. Thursday against Larned/LaCrosse. Even though the Bullpups are seeded third and have four losses, look at who they’ve lost to. 5A state qualifier Great Bend, 3A state qualifier Wichita Collegiate, rival Buhler and Oklahoma power Carl Albert.

Coach Heath Gerstner plays a style that’s hard to play against. The Bullpups execute it well, too. They also have ample pitching depth. The pieces are there for a Bullpup repeat in Salina.

Sedgwick-Marion make for an enticing first-round matchup in Great Bend

Sedgwick took care of business in the Moundridge regional, and the Cardinals head to the 2-1A state tournament playing as well as anyone, having won 15 in a row after a 3-5 start. One team partially responsible for that 3-5 start? Marion, which swept a doubleheader from Sedgwick, 16-1 and 3-2.

Marion, the No. 3 seed, has only lost to Little River. The Warriors have allowed just five runs in their last six games and have had 13 games where they’ve allowed one or zero runs.

Marion is one of the very best teams in 2-1A, but you know Sedgwick is amped up for another crack at the Warriors.