After losing its first three games this season, a trip to the Class 5A baseball tournament seemed awfully far away. But Kapaun left its losing behind, and took its regional Tuesday with a 10-0 victory over Winfield in five innings.
“We always seem to start out slow so I wasn’t really concerned … I kept saying if we’re going to win City League, if we’re going to make it to state, we’re going to have to start picking it up,” Kapaun coach Steve Lienhard said. “Now everybody’s trying hard, picking each other up, and it’s really the epitome of what a team is.”
Kapaun took advantage of Winfield’s errors in the second inning and scored four runs.
“We’ve been trying to cut down on strikeouts,” Lienhard said. “As long as you put the ball in play, you put the pressure on the defense to make the play. It just so happens that we didn’t strike out a lot tonight in the second game, and we put the pressure on their defense, and they weren’t able to come up with some plays.”
The remainder of the game followed a similar pattern. Kapaun ended with 10 runs on five hits, and Winfield ended with seven errors.
“We didn’t field the ball. We had seven errors, they scored 10 runs, and we gave them six or seven of them,” Winfield coach Ed Popplewell said. “Good teams you can’t do that to.”
Kapaun pitcher Tate Anderson allowed six hits, and walked two in the first two innings. But after the first two innings, Anderson never faced more than four batters in an inning.
“The first inning I was pretty nervous, but I had a good defense behind me, got out of a couple situations, and it worked out,” Anderson said. “I was feeling the pressure, but after that (first inning) it all went away.”
Kapaun advanced to the regional final with a 12-0 win over Liberal.
After its rough start, Kapaun finished the regular season in a tie with Northwest and East for first place in the City League, the first time since 1998. Now Kapaun is headed for the 5A tournament.
“We had a couple of good weeks of practice before the first Bishop Carroll game, and I knew the major change in us,” Lienhard said. “Then we went out and beat Carroll, we swept East, and the guys started believing in themselves.”
00000—0 6 7Kapaun04231—10 5 0
W — Anderson. L — Faust.
Kapaun 12, Liberal 0
00000—0 1 4Kapaun1146x—12 10 1
W — Hagan. L — Ware.