Chieftains nearly pull out upset
Opposites met in the middle Monday in Eudora.
The host Cardinals were 16-4 playing in a Class 4A regional baseball game against 2-18 Tonganoxie.
The visiting Chieftains didn't seem to care.
Tied, 1-1, going into the bottom of the fifth, Tonganoxie had just evened up the game and had Cinderella hopes well intact.
That, however, was when Eudora erupted for four runs, a scenario the Chieftains have seen often this season.
THS came back in the top of the seventh with another run, but Eudora eventually dashed Tonganoxie's upset hopes and advanced to the regional semifinals with a 5-2 victory.
THS coach Andy Gilner wasn't surprised by his team's effort against the top-seeded Cardinals.
"I felt we had a chance coming into the game and that just gave me a little more confidence," Gilner said about Tonganoxie tying the game in the fifth. "It just didn't materialize for us.
"It was right there again."
Daniel Volk led the team with the bat Monday, going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
Derek Sparks went 1-for-3 with a single and an RBI, while Kirk Rodell was 1-for-4 with a hit in the seventh.
But it was pitcher Josh Putthoff's performance on the mound that was Tonganoxie's highlight.
"Putthoff pitched well enough to win the ball game," Gilner said. "We had opportunities to score runs."
Tonganoxie also committed four errors, which didn't help against a Cardinal defense that committed none.
THS finished the season at 2-19. Again, the Chieftains finished the campaign just a few victories. But Gilner, who completed his first year as head coach after being a longtime assistant, knows the team is pushing in the right direction.
"I think we improved, but I think we've got a long ways to go yet," Gilner said.