Kansas State is hosting its first NCAA Regional beginning Friday in Manhattan — Bryant, Arkansas and Wichita State are the other teams — and Thursday was the day all the media types and teams got together. Here’s some short bits on each team that rolled out on what started off as a rainy day in Manhattan but turned pretty gorgeous.
The Wildcats, first up to practice, were actually the only team that had to do everything indoors, including interviews. They seemed relaxed, excited. “When you see them putting in bleachers (at Tointon), that lets you know something a little different is going on,” K-State coach Brad Hill said. “Other than that, though, it’s business as usual.”
Here’s a couple of stories from K-State beat writer Kellis Robinett — on Kansas State baseball’s ascension from the dark ages aka the late 1980s. Here’s another one on K-State center fielder Jared King.
The Razorbacks, ranked No. 1 in the country in the preseason, have struggled at the plate all season and it was pretty evident where their focus was during Thursday’s practice. Every batter that came up during a scrimmage got major, major pointers from coach Dave Van Horn – and they weren’t the kindest remarks. On the flip side, the Razorbacks probably have the best pitching staff in the nation.
The team from tiny Smithfield, R.I. was probably the loosest of the four at Thursday’s practices. And their dugout was pretty spectacular – a mix of Northeasterner accents from Massachusets, Rhode Island, Jersey and New York. This team was NCAA Division II just 5 years ago and now they’re in the NCAA Tournament. That ain’t easy to do.
Some things are best said … in video. Which I shot of Wichita State coach Gene Stephenson and designated hitter Johnny Coy on Thursday.
We’ve got a ton of stories/coverage coming out of Manhattan the next couple of days, so check Kansas.com.