Varsity Kansas

Mulvane baseball playing its way to high seed

Mulvane is a quiet 13-3. That's the way the players like it.

Under coach Daniel Myears, the Wildcats have won with small ball, timely hits and smart baserunning. Defense has had a lot to do with it, too.

"We don't have guys that hit the ball out of the yard," Myears said. "We've got guys that hit line drives. We rely on running the bases. We are a pretty quick team. So we try to steal bases when we can."

The Wildcats are confident as they head into the final two series of this season. Since being swept by Andale in an April 4 doubleheader, Mulvane has won nine of its last 10 games.

The Wildcats are 7-1 against Class 4A regional opponents. Other teams in the regional are Trinity Academy, Rose Hill, Augusta, Wellington, Winfield, Circle and El Dorado.

"Right now we are sitting high enough to where we would be the one seed in our regional," third baseman Gus Strunk said. "All the top teams around here we've either swept them or split with them, besides Andale. I think we will be all right."

The Wildcats have won by playing mistake-free ball, something Myears thinks the team will be able to hang its hat on in the postseason.

"We really pride ourselves on playing good defense," Myears said. "But we learn to survive when errors happen. We focus on doing the little things right, and when bad things happen we pitch and field the next ball."

One wild game _ It's been a rough season for North, but it got a thrilling and much-needed break Friday in a 25-25 game that it won over Garden City in an unusual forfeit.

North lost the opener 15-1 in the first game, then trailed 13-0 in the third inning of Game 2. So Garden City, looking forward to another run-rule victory, inserted backup players who normally wouldn't play.

"I didn't think we would be able to come back," North shortstop Everado Escamilla said. "I thought the game was lost."

North, however, scored 22 runs in the third inning on 12 hits, including three home runs (one a grand slam). There were 28 plate appearances by North batters in a half-inning that lasted 70 minutes.

" (The Garden City coach) was down to about nine or 10 players by then," North coach Kyle Sanders said. "So he left his pitcher out there. He was coaching as you would if you are way ahead of somebody, never dreaming a 22-run inning is about to occur. Suddenly he's behind. Then we are in a close game, and he used everybody up."

Garden City recovered from that disastrous inning, and went on to score a combined 12 runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh to tie the game at 25. Garden City had a man on second in the eighth inning and one out.

"We strike the kid out. He threw a fit and started questioning the ump's calls," Sanders said. "He was ultimately ejected. They had subbed and used all of their kids that they had on their lineup card. When you only have nine, and you get a kid ejected, it's a forfeit."

For North players the win by forfeit was bittersweet.

"I thought we were going to keep battling and go on a few extra innings," North second baseman Fernando Hernandez said. "I was glad that we got the win. I was glad that it was over. But it could have been better if we finished with a hit or something."