Paul Suellentrop

WSU notes: Late-round draft pick introduces Kansans to the Detroit Tigers

Connor Lungwitz pitches during his junior season at Maize.
Connor Lungwitz pitches during his junior season at Maize. The Wichita Eagle

David Chadd’s tradition of drafting a Wichita-area baseball player is more than a courtesy or a tip of the hat. He sees spending a late-round pick as the start of relationship.

Chadd, Detroit’s vice president for amateur scouting, is a Wichitan who attended Bishop Carroll and Kansas State and coached for the Wildcats and Wichita State. He drafted North’s Tyler Grimes in 2008, Bishop Carroll quarterback Blake Bell and Tabor’s Tyson Kendrick, from Ark City, in 2010. The Tigers grabbed several Bishop Carroll standouts, most recently catcher Taylor Sanagorski, now at WSU, in 2014. In June, Detroit selected Maize pitcher Connor Lungwitz in the 35th round.

“I like to break the ice,” Chadd said. “I like the area scouts to develop a relationship with the family. In three years, maybe it comes back around and works to our benefit.”

Lungwitz will attend WSU and Chadd’s scouts will keep an eye on him. Lungwitz, a 6-foot-5 right-hander, possesses a delivery and arm action that scouts like. He throws in the mid 80s mph now and scouts can see him gaining speed as he gets stronger. Chadd has a long history with WSU pitching coach Brent Kemnitz and compares Lungwitz’s background to players such as Braden Looper and Brian Flynn

“Three years from now, he’s got the potential to be a pretty good draft pick,” Chadd said. “He’s going to elevate himself in the major-league draft. I’ve seen this happen too many times with Brent. So many guys that weren’t even on the radar screen of professional scouts and three years later turn into top picks.”

Detroit drafted 40 players with the expectation to sign around 25 or so. The rest will attend college and that’s fine with Chadd. Detroit also picked Dayton Dugas, an outfielder from Louisiana who signed with WSU, in the 29th round.

“Once all your minor-league affiliates are filled … you have to turn the page and let these guys go to school and develop in college,” Chadd said.

Lungwitz started the summer with the Newton Rebels before shoulder stiffness convinced him to rest. He is strengthening the shoulder with physical therapy and playing catch. He might return to the mound late in the summer.

“We’re not going to rush it by any means,” he said. “They don’t think it’s anything serious.”

Lungwitz, who also considered playing college football, went 6-1 with a 0.97 ERA as a senior, earning All-Metro honors. He threw 65 innings, had three complete games, two shutouts and gave up 42 hits. He struck out 74 and walked 11 in 65 innings. Barring an unexpected spot in the early rounds, Lungwitz was focused on playing for the Shockers.

“It would have taken quite a bit of money for me to sign and skip out on college,” Lungwitz said.

On the clock — Shockers pitcher Chase Williams started his college career in 2012 at Eastern Oklahoma State. He didn’t pitch until two seasons later, thanks to elbow surgery that wiped out the 2012 season. In 2013, Williams didn’t enroll while he recovered from the surgery.

That is the basis of WSU’s attempt to get Williams an addition season of eligibility. The NCAA turned down WSU’s request last week. Williams and WSU say they will appeal.

Williams has two seasons of competition in college — 2014 at Eastern Oklahoma State and 2015 at WSU.

If he gets another season of eligibility from the NCAA, it gives him incentive to return to college. He would then enjoy leverage in next June’s draft, with another season of eligibility to bargain with. If the appeal is unsuccessful, Williams is looking at 2016 as his senior season, which could affect this summer’s negotations with San Diego, which picked him in the 25th round earlier this month.

For now, Williams is living in Tulsa with his wife and Kayden, their one-month-old daughter. While a signing bonus might be handy for new parents, Williams sees advantages in another year of college to spend time with Kayden. If he signs with the Padres, he is on the road until the fall.

“I’m basically trying to see what’s best for me and my family,” he said.

Williams keeps in touch with Shockers pitchers Sam Tewes and Willie Schwanke and they discuss the potential for the trio as WSU’s weekend rotation. Schwanke and Tewes threw in the rotation before injuries shortened their seasons. Williams joined the rotation later in the season and made dramatic improvements before throwing WSU’s lone complete game in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.

On schedule — WSU will announce its men’s basketball non-conference schedule on Wednesday when it unveils a new look for goshockers.com.

Much of the schedule is already known.

WSU will continue series at Saint Louis, Seton Hall and Tulsa. UNLV, Nevada, New Mexico State and Charleston Southern will come to Koch Arena. The Orlando Classic in late November features Alabama, Dayton, Iowa, Southern Cal, Notre Dame, Xavier and Monmouth. WSU will play Hawaii Pacific on Nov. 7 in an exhibition game.

Men’s basketball season-ticket holders can purchase tickets for the Dec. 12 game against Utah at Intrust Bank Arena on Sept. 22. Tickets go on sale to the public on Sept. 26. Details will be announced later.

▪ Abednego Lufile, brother of former Shocker Chadrack Lufile, signed with East Tennessee State and former WSU assistant coach Steve Forbes. Lufile, a 6-7 forward, played the past two seasons at Sheridan (Wyo.) College.

Around the world — Four WSU bowlers will start a busy summer of international competition on Sunday in the PABCON Youth Championships in Panama City, Panama. Juniors Mitch Hupe, Kristie Lopez and Laura Plazas and sophomore Sydney Brummett will compete in singles, doubles, trios, team and masters this week.

In July, seniors A.J. Chapman and Daria Kovalova will travel to Tokyo for the World Bowling Open. The Junior Gold Championships, in Chicago in July, are the world’s biggest junior tournament. Brummett, Brandon Biondo, Packy Hanrahan, Ashlyn Herzberg, Derick Holmes, Hollyann Johansen, Thomas Peters and Chenoa Rhoades will participate.

Also in July, Lopez will compete in the Pan Am Games in Toronto, along with former Shockers Francois Lavoie, Mariana Ayala, Devin Bidwell and Clara Guerrero.

Reach Paul Suellentrop at 316-269-6760 or psuellentrop@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @paulsuellentrop.

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