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Congleton will not continue his baseball career in college, but made his senior season at Eisenhower a memorable one. He led a late-season surge that saw the Tigers play for a regional championship, and led the team with a .436 batting average and added 14 runs scored, 13 RBIs and 11 extra-base hits. He also became a reliable starting pitcher in the second half of the season. “Tanner was our leader on the team from every aspect,” Eisenhower coach Cary Dinkel said. “He was just a bulldog who was going to get the job done. He’s straight-up one of the best leaders I’ve ever been around and he wasn’t afraid to compete. He did a phenomenal job this season.”
Standing a diminutive 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds, Denk was the biggest contributor for an Andale-Garden Plain team that won 18 games and spent time this season as the No. 1 team in Class 4A-I. Denk, who has signed with Barton County, finished with a .359 batting average and a .564 on-base percentage. He also converted all three save opportunities with 22 strikeouts in 17-plus innings. “Harrison isn’t the biggest guy on the field, but I wouldn’t have him any other way,” Andale-Garden Plain coach Chase Boyd said. “I think because of his size he plays the way he does. I mean he hits the ball as hard as someone who is 6-3, 220. You wouldn’t think he hits the ball as hard as he does, but he has a lot of power for his size.”
Elliot transformed over the last offseason, packing on muscle, and the results translated on the field as he helped lead Andover Central to a 16-5 record. Elliot played multiple positions in the infield, and he he broke the school record with a .558 batting average to go along with 17 runs batted in, 18 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. “Cooper worked extremely hard in the off-season to get his body ready and he just improved every part of his game for us,” Andover Central coach Grant Bacon said. “He became so good this season at hitting to all fields and then he just made everything look so smooth.”
Ensz had no problem shifting into his role as the staff’s ace, as the senior left-hander helped lead the team to a 22-3 record and a fourth-place finish in Class 5A. Ensz was 6-0 with a 0.61 ERA, three complete-game performances and 46 strikeouts in 46 innings. “Every time we gave him the ball our guys were pretty confident we were going to win the game,” Bishop Carroll coach Charlie Ebright said. “He has one of the best left-handed breaking balls I’ve coached and just an air of confidence. As soon as he walked on our campus, he knew he was going to be a good pitcher and a winner.”
Maxson, a Kansas State signee, let his bat do his talking. The two-time All-Metro selection posted a .514 batting average and .604 on-base percentage to go along with 31 runs batted in, 22 runs scored, and 17 extra-base hits, including four home runs as Maize South won the Class 4A-I championship. “Jordan was a guy that led by example and there were times this season where he put the team on his shoulders and said, ‘Let’s go,’ and the kids followed him,” Maize South coach Chad Christensen said.
Senior second baseman
Riley, a Barton County signee, was the most valuable player for an Augusta team that won 19 games and finished third in the Class 4-1A tournament. Riley was most dominant on the mound, where he compiled a 5-1 record and 0.93 ERA through 45-plus innings with 71 strikeouts. Riley also held a .513 batting average and .619 on-base percentage. “Nolan is just a great competitor and he’s one of those guys who makes everyone around him better,” Augusta coach Doug Jefferson said. “He’s just a really heady player. He was just really good at recognizing what pitch was coming and understood the game on another level.”
Senior designated hitter
Sauer was the top hitter on the team that finished with a 25-1 record and won a Class 3A championship. Sauer, who played multiple infield positions, led the team with his .449 batting average. He threw a runner out at home to preserve a first-round victory over Galena in the state tournament, then delivered the game-winning hit in a 3-2 win over Silver Lake in the semifinals. “Jeb really is a five-tool guy who can do whatever you ask him to,” Independent coach Jamie Fowler said. “He came up clutch for us in the state tournament and it just seemed like this whole season the tighter situation the better Jeb played.”
Scantlin’s physical tool set is drawing the interest of professional scouts. Not only did Scantlin, who has signed with Iowa Western, excel on defense in center field, but he posted his best stats at the plate in his career. Scantlin hit .589 with an on-base percentage of .653, including five home runs. “You can’t get the guy out because he doesn’t swing at a bad pitch,” Rose Hill coach Scott Carr said. “He’s become so disciplined at the plate. He never gets cheated in an at-bat. When he puts the ball in play, it’s very, very hard. He really is a five-tool guy that has continuously improved over the last four years.”
Not only was Short was Maize’s go-to pitcher, but he also improved his hitting at the plate to become a valuable piece in Maize’s 22-3 season that culminated with the Class 5A championship. Short, who has signed with Cowley County, finished with a 0.92 ERA 49 strikeouts in 53-plus innings. He also led the team with his .432 batting average in limited time as designated hitter. “I think what impressed me the most with John was how he became a leader for us and a student of the game, not only with his pitching but also hitting,” Maize coach Rocky Helm said. “He understands what it takes to be successful and it was fun to watch him take all of those tools and elevate his game.”
For the second straight season, Springer was chosen Pitcher of the Year for Class 3A by Kansas coaches. Springer, who has signed with Pratt, was 9-0 with a 1.55 ERA, as he struck out 54 hitters in 54-plus innings. “The No. 1 most impressive thing about Caden to me is his composure on the mound,” Independent coach Jamie Fowler said. “Caden works on his craft 365 days a year. He can throw three pitches on any count he wants. When you can do that at this level and you can spot the ball like he can, then you’re going to win a lot of games.”
Senior first baseman
Taylor delivered the game-winning hit in the bottom of the seventh inning of Maize’s 5-4 victory over St. Thomas Aquinas in the 5A title game. Taylor, who has signed with Dodge City, posted a .381 batting average and .512 on-base percentage. “His hit is going to be remembered as an enormous part of our history,” Maize coach Rocky Helm said. “It’s a culmination of everything we’ve done as a team. He just goes about playing the game the right way and he makes sure he does things to make himself successful. He’s improve so much, but he’s still kept the importance of the team at the top of his list.”
Theis was Carroll’s most dangerous threat at the plate during a 22-3 season and a fourth-place finish in Class 5A. Theis, who has signed with Neosho County, led the team with a .452 batting average. “His senior year he took his game to another level and I think that was true in football and basketball too,” Carroll coach Charlie Ebright said. “He was completely locked in this season and he’s a guy that was just fun to watch. He got on base a lot and once he was on, he was able to steal a lot of bases and really set the table for his teammates.”
Junior third base
Perhaps no one boosted their stock this season more than Wagner, who had a breakout season for a Maize South team that won 20 games and the Class 4A-I championship. Wagner led all of 4A-I in home runs with five. On top of playing outstanding defense at third base, Wagner hit .500 with a team-high 42 runs scored. “He didn’t even hit .300 last season and you can see the huge jump he took this season and that was a big plus for us,” Maize South coach Chad Christensen said. “This is a kid who put in a lot of hard work over last summer, probably put on 25 pounds, and made some adjustments to his swing.”
Bluestem completed a memorable run to the Class 2-1A championship, winning the first team championship in the school’s 44-year history. Bluestem finished with an 18-4 record, as it defeated the top three seeds at the state tournament that had a combined 58-1 record before losing to Bluestem. Bluestem had all-state selections by the coaches in Tritten Beavers, Blake Bevan and Coy Moran. “It’s had such a positive impact not just in the school, but in the community and that’s the thing that’s been really impressive to me,” Scribner said. “This was bigger than just a team.”
This is the 13th year for All-Metro teams selected by The Eagle, recognizing the best high school athletes in team sports throughout Sedgwick, Butler and Harvey counties.
This month, The Eagle sent nomination ballots to all baseball coaches at the high schools in Sedgwick, Butler and Harvey counties.
Coaches were asked to return the ballots with nominations of the best players within those counties that they saw this season, including their own players.
Taylor Eldridge selected the team after tabulating nominations, his own evaluation of players and additional input from coaches.