The Maize baseball team has proven to be one of the most consistent teams in the area, and also one of the hottest.
The 17-2 Eagles are riding an eight-game winning streak heading into Friday's game against Northwest So far this season they have beaten Goddard, Bishop Carroll and Hutchinson.
Maize, which is able to score runs, relies on its pitching trio of Gage Byers, Conner Knight and Dillon Kerans.
"We go into the game knowing that our team can hit," Byers said. "But going in there and pitching is really what we like to establish. That's how you can win games a lot of times. You can have all of the offense you want, but if you can't stop (the other team) then it's kind of pointless."
Never miss a local story.
Byers will likely be the starter Friday and will face Northwest's No. 1 pitcher in Brandon Phillips. Both teams have established themselves among the area's elite. However, Northwest hit a few snags in the second half of its schedule.
"Coach always tells us he wants us to be playing our best baseball by the time the end of March comes around," Kerans said. "I think we've been doing that. We've been playing fairly consistent all year. We've given up some runs now and then, but we've put up a lot of runs in return."
Northwest definitely wants to pick up some momentum heading into its regional match up, and Maize wants to keep its streak going.
"We're pretty pumped for this game. We want to show Northwest that we can play," Knight said. "It's very important because if we win this game, we're a No. 1 seed, plus we host regional's. We would have the momentum to go into state and play really good."
Goddard catches fire at right time—Goddard (14-6) showed the signs of a young team at the beginning of the season. It played up and down and struggled to pull out wins in close games against tough opponents.
However, those mistakes and inconsistency at the plate that resulted in one and two run-losses against teams like Campus and Arkansas City have been corrected. And the result has been a team that has won eight of its final 10 games.
The team's final win and most impressive victory of the regular season was against Bishop Carroll.
"We still have a lot of things we have to work on," Goddard catcher Levi Meyer said. "But if we can carry in the same intensity that we had against Carroll in the regional's then I think we can be pretty confident."
Lions second baseman Austin White thinks he knows one of the reasons why the team has been so hot to close out the regular season.
"These past couple of games our bats have really come alive. We've been making the simple plays. We haven't been thinking as much _ just playing the game and having fun."