Cinderella tour, episode II for Tonganoxie baseball
The underdog role made for a great script again last week for the Tonganoxie High Baseball team.
THS was the lowest seed at last year’s regional, but managed to win both games before knocking off the No. 1 seed at state on its way to a fourth-place finish at state in 2018.
This season, Tonganoxie might have one-upped its own scenario at regionals.
THS knocked off undefeated and defending state champion Iola on its way to a regional championship May 14 in Iola.
THS defeated Baldwin/Bishop Seabury, 11-10, in the Class 4A regional semifinal before dropping Iola, 8-5, in the regional championship.
Iola was the No. 1 seed in the East Bracket and 13-0 heading into the game last week.
The Mustangs won the 4A Division II title last year with a 23-2 record in the final season of 4A being divided into two divisions.
In the regional semifinal, Tonganoxie built a 7-0 lead against Baldwin through three innings, but Baldwin responded, scoring in every inning after that.
The Bulldogs actually took the lead in the sixth and was up, 8-7, before THS responded with another run in the bottom of the sixth.
Baldwin regained the lead in the seventh, but some last-inning heroics pushed Tonganoxie to victory with three runs of its own.
Caden Woods’ walk-off single to center scored Jessie Collier and the Chieftains advanced with the 11-10 victory against the Bulldogs.
Collier and Woods each had a double against BHS.
Colllier and Woods also led the team in RBI with three each. Ethan Basler, Bronson Cunningham, Austin Fisher and Nate Vandervoort also contributed an RBI each.
Basler also was hit by a pitch and Matt Perich registered two stolen bases.
THS also had some patience at the plate, as the team had five walks in the game. Tonganoxie batters struck out seven times also.
In the championship game, Tonganoxie gave up a big inning in the bottom of the first, but the Mustangs didn’t do much after that.
Tonganoxie scored in all but two innings on the way to a big 8-5 victory.
Iola finished the season 13-1, while THS improved to 12-9.
Ethan Staples had a double and a triple against Iola, while Fisher contributed two doubles to the Chieftains’ cause.
Basler also had a home run, one of two RBI on the day. Staples also had two RBI while Collier, Bronson Cunningham and Fisher.
Gehrig Goldbeck and Jayden Wilson each registered a stolen base as well.
Fisher started the game on the mound, going one inning and giving up four runs on three hits. He also walked three batters.
Cooper Cunningham pitched five innings, allowing no runs on just three hits. He also struck out six and walked one.
Basler followed up Cunningham’s big performance with one inning of relief. He gave up one run on one hit and struck out another while walking one.
Tonganoxie is the No. 6 seed this season at state and will play No. 3 Nickerson (16-2) Thursday at Salina’s Dean Evans Stadium.
In other quarterfinal games, No. 1 Fort Scott (21-1) plays No. 8 Piper (8-12), No. 4 Buhler (19-3) faces No. 5 Chanute (13-7) and No. 2 Wichita Trinity (18-1) meets No. 7 Mulvane (9-11).
The THS-Nickerson game originally was to start at 5:45 p.m., but may start sooner. KSHSAA announced that games following the first game will start about 25 minutes after the previous game, so the Tonganoxie game potentially could start earlier.
Semifinals, consolation championship and the state championship are scheduled for Friday.
Tonganoxie 11, Baldwin 10
BHS 000 233 2 — 10 11 2
THS 421 001 3 — 11 15 1
Tonganoxie 8, Iola 5
THS 201 220 1 — 8 13 1
Iola 400 000 1 — 5 7 0