Baseball statistical junkies know the absurd when they hear it or see it.
It could be a lengthy scoreless innings streak for a starting pitcher. Or consecutive games played without an error by an infielder.
Or pretty much the entire high school career of Sedgwick’s Brylie Ware.
Ware, a junior shortstop and pitcher, has hit effectively for the Cardinals ever since he slipped on a varsity uniform 2 1/2 seasons ago. But at the midpoint of the current regular season, Ware, a .613 career hitter, has taken his achievements to greater heights.
Heading into the first of 10 games in a 11-day span Friday at Canton-Galva, Ware is batting .750 (18 for 24) with four home runs and 17 RBIs. Sedgwick, No. 5 in the Class 3A coaches rankings, is 9-1.
“I’m just going up there with the attitude that if he gives me something to hit, I’m trying to hit it hard,” Ware said. “Whatever happens after that, happens.”
Ware, a 4,000-yard passer with one football season to play at Sedgwick, is flirting with the state’s single-season batting average record of .710. Silver Lake’s Josh Workman, a former Wichita State and Wingnuts outfielder, set that mark in 2004.
“Brylie does a nice job treating every swing that we give him, whether it’s in practice or a game, as if it’s important,” Sedgwick coach Doug Mabry said. “We’re always talking about having a philosophy that whether it’s swinging off a tee when you’re 6 years old or taking batting practice in high school, you’re still working to develop that skill in the present moment.”
The right-handed Ware has 87 career hits after going 3 for 4 in a doubleheader sweep last week against Inman. The total includes 50 hits for extra bases, including 14 home runs.
“Generally speaking, Brylie does quite a bit of damage when he does make contact,” Mabry said. “He can hit it the other way or he can pull the ball when the pitcher tries to go inside.
“Home run totals, when you’re in Kansas and it’s windy, can be inflated. But I think you’d be hard-pressed to find an opposing coach who’d say, ‘That home run Brylie hit was wind-aided.’ ”
Ware, who batted .538 as a freshman and .642 last season, dismisses much statistical analysis of his game. After regional losses to Independent each of his first two seasons, his greater concern is advancing through another difficult regional at Marion later this month.
But Ware realizes that when a 3-for-4 day at the plate is simply maintaining a batting average, there’s a source of that success.
“It just shows me that when you get in the cage, you need to put in all the effort you can to get better,” Ware said.
Heights surrendered its share of the City League lead after East rallied in the bottom of the seventh for a 10-9 victory in the nightcap of Tuesday’s doubleheader at McAdams Park. The Falcons (12-2, 10-2 CL) slipped a game behind Bishop Carroll (10-1, 9-1) in the loss column. The Eagles played West in a rescheduled doubleheader Wednesday night.
“We didn’t give it away,” said Topping, whose team lost for the first time since Carroll edged it 5-4 in the season opener on March 27. “They totally beat us. They earned it.”
Heights, No. 2 in 5A behind Carroll, hasn’t been disappointed much this season. Despite falling to 3-2 in one-run games, the Falcons also registered their third shutout in the opener against East. Junior Keylan Killgore tossed a five-hitter as Heights won 5-0.
While Killgore and seniors Josh Farrington and Blake Day have handled much of the pitching load, the Falcons entered the week with six players batting above .400. Offensive weapons like leadoff man Caleb Haight, Brett Carroll, Creighton Sanders and Curtis Whitten have helped Heights average 9.6 runs.
The Falcons will need help to regain control of their league fate after Tuesday. But Topping said goals of a third consecutive state appearance and advancing past the 5A quarterfinals continue to be a primary focus heading into May.
“The kids were really down after that loss (Tuesday) night,” Topping said. “But we talked to them and told them it’s not anything major, nothing catastrophic. We can still recover, and hopefully, they’ll come back focused and ready to go.”