Very little had stood in Bishop Carroll’s way this baseball season, and any alteration of that seemed unlikely through Thursday’s Class 5A quarterfinal.
Having already defeated Goddard Eisenhower 10-0 earlier this season, little was expected of the No. 8 seeded Tigers.
Behind an uncanny five double plays in the first five innings, Eisenhower stood tall for 5 1/3 innings and shut down the Golden Eagles behind a strong pitching performance from freshman Braden Minor.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, the knockout punch didn’t exist.
A two-run triple from designated hitter Bryce Fisher opened the door to five-run sixth inning, giving the Golden Eagles a 5-1 victory.
Bishop Carroll will face Mill Valley in the state tournament for the second consecutive year in Friday’s 1:30 p.m. semifinal.
A strong approach at the plate and an ability to persevere is what Bishop Carroll caoch Charlie Ebright believes was the difference.
“We put ourselves in good position to score runs and hit balls at them and they made the play, give them credit,” Ebright said. “They played well, we played well but we got the monkey off our backs there and guys loosened up quite a bit.”
Eisenhower coach Tom Campa said his team delivered a state tournament-worthy performance and has plenty to build off of for the future.
“We had nothing to lose,” Campa said. “They’re a great team and we just wanted our guys to come out and compete. We won the first five innings but it’s just that one inning that hit us and that’s the way baseball is, and it can go either way. Unfortunately it didn’t go our way tonight.”
Shawnee Heights 1, Andover Central 0 — Andover Central pitcher Lucas Milner only allowed on run Thursday, but it was enough to lead to his first loss of the season.
Milner opened the game by walking Shawnee Heights’ Jaren Kutzke and it’ll be the batter Milner will remember most moving forward. Kutzke advanced to second on a Milner balk and scored the game’s lone run on a wild pitch.
“The balk gets him to second, they advance him and then we have two outs,” Andover Central coach Grant Bacon said. “Looks like we’re going to find a way to get out of the inning and then the wild pitch comes.”
Milner entered the game 8-0 with a 1.63 ERA.
Shawnee Heights starting pitcher and K-State signee Jordan Floyd held Central to two hits while striking out 10.
“You’ve got to give their kid credit,” Bacon said. “We knew he was good, but it’s hard to emulate low 90s with command.”
Mill Valley 1, Maize South 0 — Making it to the state tournament in its first year in Class 5A was one goal, but Maize South wanted more.
Unfortunately for the Mavericks, Mill Valley’s Zachary Stinnett stood in the way.
Having battled his way back through both a torn meniscus and elbow surgery in August of last year, the senior threw seven shutout innings.
“He had a good fastball and mixed it well with a curveball, keeping us off-balance,” Maize South coach Chad Christensen said. “We came into the game today knowing we were going to try to sit on fastballs and hit it. We had our opportunities and ran ourselves out of some innings and really never had a great approach today.”
Senior Wes Phillips led the way for the Mavericks offensively, going 2 for 3. Senior Kane McCarthy pitched a complete game.
Shawnee Hts 1, And. Central 0
|And. Central||000||000||0||—||0 2 0|
|Shawnee Heights||100||000||x||—||1 2 1|
W — Floyd. L — Milner.
Carroll 5, Eisenhower 1
|Eisenhower||001||000||0||—||1 5 2|
|Carroll||000||005||x||—||5 8 1|
W — Larkey. L — Minor.
Mill Valley 1, Maize South 0
|Mill Valley||001||000||0||—||1 4 0|
|Maize South||000||000||0||—||0 5 2|
W — Stinnett. L — McCarthy.