THS baseball takes 3rd at Butch Foster Classic
Butch Foster Classic
Paola 9, Bonner 2
THS 3, Spring Hill 0
Perry 11, Holton 1
Basehor 8, Baldwin 2
Baldwin 19, Holton 2
Perry 6, Basehor 0
Bonner 8, Spring Hill 6
Paola 5, THS 0
Spring Hill 3, Holton 0 (7th)
Baldwin 6, Bonner 2 (5th)
THS 6, Basehor 5 (3rd)
Paola 9, Perry 1 (1st)
Kansas City, Kan. A 2-1 record at the Butch Foster Memorial Classic? Check. The team's first-ever win in the opening round? Check. The highest finish in tournament history? Check.
The list keeps getting shorter for the Tonganoxie High baseball team.
The eighth-ranked Chieftains continued to ride the momentum of their best season in five years, finishing third Saturday at the Bonner Springs-hosted tournament at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. They opened with a 3-0 win Thursday against Spring Hill, then rebounded from a 5-0 semifinal loss Friday to tournament champ Paola with a 6-5 victory against rival Basehor-Linwood in Saturday's third-place game.
"I think we learned a lot about ourselves," coach Mitch Loomis said. "I thought we were really, really good the first two nights, then (Saturday) was as bad as we've been all year. If nothing else, we got what we wanted with two wins."
Sophomore Tyler Novotney got the start for the Chieftains (10-5) on Saturday and struggled with his command early in the game. He walked three batters in the first inning — his first of seven free passes issued — but limited BLHS (7-11) to just one run after loading the bases with no outs. Jake Hahn scored when Avery Fliger drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk, then Novotney got Garrett Draper to ground out to first.
THS got the run back in the home half of the inning when Brady Swedo scored on a fielding error by Bobcat shortstop Brock Gilliam.
Novotney retired the side in order in the second, then the Chieftains tagged BLHS starter Ashton Findley for five runs in the bottom of the frame. Travis Woods singled home courtesy runner Jordan Brown to open the inning, then Colten Weaver scored on a fielder's choice by Levy. Ty Hampton made it 5-1, scoring Swedo and Levy on a single to right field, then Connor Wentz-Hall came home on a passed ball.
The Bobcats got back within three with runs by Tyler McClarrinon and Easton Noe in the third, but again left the bases loaded. They chased Novotney when Findley hit a two-run double in the fourth. With limited options available after Thursday and Friday's games, Loomis brought Levy in from right field after BLHS got within one in the fourth.
The move even surprised Levy, who hadn't pitched this season and was used sparingly on the mound in 2013.
"I actually wasn't paying attention," he said. "Connor (Wentz-Hall) had to yell at me to tell me I was coming in."
Levy struck out Avery Fliger to keep the lead intact, then got BLHS in order in the fifth, but had to battle his way out of a jam in the sixth. Two walks and a single gave the Bobcats their third bases-loaded opportunity of the night, but a Fliger groundout ended the threat.
THS failed to add any insurance in the bottom of the sixth, but Levy worked around a one-out single by Andrew Magana to cap off the win in the seventh. He struck out two in the final frame, giving him four in the scoreless relief effort.
"You've got to be an athlete, throw strikes and have faith in your defense," Levy said. "I knew they were going to make plays, so I basically just had to focus on throwing strikes."
Ashton Findley only allowed five hits in a complete-game effort for the Bobcats, but walked three batters and hit six more in the loss.
Tonganoxie is now 3-0 against Basehor-Linwood this season. The teams could meet again in a Class 4A-I regional tournament later this month in Tonganoxie. The Chieftains will return to Kaw Valley League action Thursday at Mill Valley, which entered this week undefeated in league play.