Archive for Thursday, May 26, 2022

Tonganoxie High baseball preparing for state run thanks in part to rare Kleidosty homer at regionals

Tonganoxie High's Rocco Gehring (13) greets teammate Sam Kleidosty (1) at home plate after Kleidosty sent a pitch over the left-center field fence during a Class 4A regional championship game May 17, 2022, at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds. it marked Kleidosty's first home run of his high school career.

Tonganoxie High's Rocco Gehring (13) greets teammate Sam Kleidosty (1) at home plate after Kleidosty sent a pitch over the left-center field fence during a Class 4A regional championship game May 17, 2022, at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds. it marked Kleidosty's first home run of his high school career.

May 26, 2022

There are times in a baseball game when multiple runners are on base and a broadcaster or fan might mutter “oh for a home run.”

That likely was the wish for many last week during Tonganoxie High’s regional championship game against Bishop Miege at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds.

The wish came true, but it might have been an even sweeter reality because it came off an unlikely bat.

Trailing, 5-4, with one out in the bottom of the sixth and Mason Khanthaboury at second and Rocco Gehring at third, Tonganoxie had Sam Kleidosty stepping to the plate.

On the first pitch of the at-bat, Kleidosty sent the Miege offering to left-center and elevated the THS crowd to pandemonium levels.

The homer was monumental in helping Tonganoxie close in on a state berth and defeat defending state champion Bishop Miege.

It also was notable because it marked the first homer of Kleidosty's high school career.

The senior said after the game that it was his first home run since middle school.

As he stepped to the plate in the pressure situation, Kleidosty took some deep breaths and then stepped in the batter’s box. He said Liitle T (THS football coach Preston Troyer) always reminded him to take deep breaths in such situations.

The centerfielder was looking for a fastball and proceeded to hit a first-pitch curveball to left-center field over the home-field fence.

The game didn’t look promising early on, as Miege scored one run in the first and tacked on three more in the second. But Tonganoxie settled in and kept the Stags hitless the rest of the way.

Fellow senior Owen Welsh pitched 6 1/3 innings and was at 103 pitches when THS coach Mitch Loomis pulled his starter. Pitchers must exit when they’ve met or surpassed 105 pitches entering an at-bat, so he could have faced another batter. But Gehrig Goldbeck shut down any Miege hopes for a rally as the senior struck out the final two batters.

Welsh said adrenaline helped get him through the big performance against Miege, noting that his arm didn’t feel the fatigue of throwing a nearly complete game — at least in the moments after the game when fans joined the team on the field to celebrate a regional championship.

Tonganoxie (18-3) will take a No. 2 seed into Thursday’s state tournament at Dean Evans Stadium in Salina. The Chieftains will face No. 7 Abilene (13-8) in the quarterfinals at 3:30 p.m. Thursday. The winner takes on the winner of No. 3 Clay Center-Wakefield (16-4) and No. 6 Paola (14-7) at 1:15 p.m. Friday in the state semifinals, with the third-place game to start around 3:30 p.m. and the championship at 5:45 p.m.

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