Baseball in Kansas: A look at every team that qualified for the 2022 state tournament

West Elk qualified for state baseball in coach Dana Taliaferro’s last season after 38 years with the program.



Key Question: This is a very balanced field. Could Olathe West coach Rick Sabath win his second state title at his second school?

1.Blue Valley West (20-2) – Blue Valley West headlines a field that does not have defending champion Blue Valley. West lost in the 6A state quarterfinals in 2021. West is the only 6A team that won at least 20 games. West easily paced 6A with 8.2 runs per game. BV West beat Blue Valley, 6-3, in the regional final. Jackson Lovich has committed to Missouri. Bryce Hanson and Austin Young returned after the duo were the team’s top-two pitchers in ’21. West captured the 6A title in ’13 and ’07.

8. Shawnee Mission East (10-12) – SME has not won more than two games in a row at any point this season. East beat Olathe Northwest, 5-3, in 11 innings in the regional final.

4. Washburn Rural (17-5) – Rural finished second to Manhattan for the best record in 6A West. WR won its two regional games by a combined score of 16-1. Rural has a pair of baseball championships, in ’50 and ’52. On a 6-game winning streak and have nearly doubled their opponents up in runs scored to runs allowed this season. The Centennial League is one of the best in Kansas’ for baseball and softball.

5. Derby (16-6) – Derby finished third in 2021 with a win against Blue Valley West, a semifinal loss to Gardner-Edgerton and a victory against Derby in the third place game. Derby beat Topeka High, 10-0, in the regional final. Saben Seager has committed to Cowley CC, and Luke Westerman to Neosho CC. Derby has one state championship, the 6A title in ’01. Braden Horn, a 6’4″ 230 pound junior, leads the Panthers in average with a .459 this season. Seager has hit .444 this season while Karson Kilma has hit .442. Mitchell Johnson is 4-1 on the mound with a 2.45 ERA, while Seager is 3-1 (3.10 ERA) and C. Knoblock with a 3.65 ERA (3-1).

2. Manhattan (19-3) – Manhattan finished fourth in 2021 with a first-round win versus Olathe West. This season, Manhattan finished two games ahead of the pack for the best 6A West record. Manhattan paced 6A West with 2.5 runs allowed a contest and was second with 9.7 runs scored a contest. Manhattan won its two regional games by 9-0 margins. Cade Perkins has signed with Cowley County CC, while Braden Dinkel has signed with Emporia State.

7. Blue Valley Northwest (14-8) – Northwest scored 6.5 runs a game and permitted 3.5. Northwest defeated Gardner-Edgerton, 7-3, in the regional final. Northwest was 9-12 last spring. Northwest won 6A state football and was the 6A boys’ basketball runner-up. NW has Mikey Pauley, a Top 11 all-classes football player and headed to Nebraska for two sports. Matthew Lemke has committed to Kansas State.

3. Olathe West (18-4) – Olathe West is back in the state tournament for a second straight spring. Rick Sabath is the only coach in program history. He has coached at several places, including head coach at Fort Hays State. West scored 7.4 runs a contest and permitted 2.95. OW was third in 6A in runs allowed a contest. West is 9-2 in its last 11 contests, including a loss to a non-Kansas school. OW beat Olathe South, 2-1, in eight innings in the regional final. OW is highly talented, including Will Krzykowski, who has signed with Central Missouri baseball. Sabath won a 5A title with Blue Valley Southwest in 2015. Olathe West has 10 plus seniors. In the 6A regional, junior Jack Scott pitched a no-hitter against KC-Wyandotte. Andrew Evans has committed to Kansas State.

6. Lawrence Free State (15-7) – Free State scored 5.59 runs a contest and permitted 3.05 a game. Free State finished second in 6A West in runs allowed. Free State defeated Dodge City, 10-0, in the regional final. FS is highly senior-laden with Harrison Juhl, Calvin Urish, Maddox Burkitt and Will Dawson.

-Stats were used on teams if they were made available to Sports in Kansas from coaches or access online (stats can be sent to: [email protected] or available on MaxPreps)


Key Question: Longtime power Topeka Seaman and defending champion Blue Valley Southwest look like the prohibitive favorites. Will that prove true?

1.Topeka Seaman (20-2) – Seaman lost to Hays High in the state quarterfinals last year. This time, Seaman defeated Hays High in the regional final. Seaman paced 5A with 1.7 runs a contest. Seaman has nine all-time state titles, most recently in ’18 and ’19.

8. St. Thomas Aquinas (13-9) – Aquinas was 14-7 and lost to rival St. James Academy in the first round of regionals. Aquinas and Pittsburg had split during the regular season, and STA won versus the Purple Dragons, 12-5, in the regional final. Coach Lorne Parks has 498 career victories. Joe Puetz leads STA in average at .500 while Gabe Fender is second on the team. Blake O’Brien, Eddie Henchek and John Andrews also are solid arms for STA.

4. Blue Valley Southwest (16-6) – Blue Valley Southwest is the defending state champion. BVSW and Topeka Seaman are the expected favorites. Southwest outscored its three state opponents 15-1, including a 2-1 win against De Soto in the state quarterfinals. BVSW and De Soto have a rematch this year. Southwest permitted 2.73 runs a game, which ranked first in 5A East and second overall in 5A. Southwest beat St. James Academy, 5-2, in the regional final. Southwest is loaded, including Cooper Kelly (KU signing) and Ben Bybee (Arkansas signing). Southwest captured the Eastern Kansas League title for the first time this spring.

5. De Soto (16-6) – De Soto went to state last season and lost to Blue Valley Southwest in the first round. De Soto has won eight straight, including three one-run victories. De Soto beat Mill Valley, 4-2, in the regional final. Coach Joel Thaemert has won 345 games in his career and 222 with De Soto.

2. Bishop Carroll (18-4) – Bishop Carroll fell to Maize South in the 2021 state quarterfinals and finished 21-2. BC led 5A with 9.14 runs a contest. BC opened 2-3 and is 16-1 since. Carroll coach Charlie Ebright has a 412-97 career record. Carroll has won two titles, in ’05 and ’12.

7. Shawnee Heights (13-9) – Shawnee Heights finished 12-10 and lost to eventual champion Blue Valley Southwest in the regional final in 2021. SH opened ’22 with a 1-4 record. On May 9, Shawnee Heights defeated Blue Valley Southwest, 7-6, in extra innings. SH beat Bonner Springs, 3-0, in the regional final.

3. Goddard-Eisenhower (16-5) – Eisenhower has bumped two wins after a 14-8 finish a year ago. Eisenhower opened the season with two losses to Valley Center. In the regional, Eisenhower avenged a regular season loss to Great Bend with an 8-5 victory. Eisenhower coach Mike Warren won more than 900 games as a junior college coach and is in the Barton County Community College Hall of Fame. Eisenhower ace Tyner Horn has committed to Wichita State baseball and is in strong contention for 5A pitcher of the year. Horn is 3-1 with a 0.39 earned-run average in his first 35.2 innings.

6. Valley Center (16-6) – Valley Center has enjoyed a six-win improvement after a 10-12 season a year ago. This is a rematch from the season opener. VC won those contests, 8-0 and 10-6, versus Eisenhower. Jacob Rutschman is hitting .372 for Valley Center while Hank Welu is hitting .355.

-Stats were used on teams if they were made available to Sports in Kansas from coaches or access online (stats can be sent to: [email protected] or available on MaxPreps)


Key Question: In a close field that doesn’t include defending state champion Bishop Miege, which team will break through and win its first title? Paola has likely the classification’s best player with Caden Marcum. Iola is the only team in the field that has won a baseball title at the 4A level, which first occurred in 1991.

1.McPherson (20-2) – McPherson has enjoyed consistent success with veteran coach Heath Gerstner. The Bullpups lost, 7-6, to Mulvane in the regional final last season and went 18-4. This year, McPherson won its two regionals by a combined score of 27-2. McPherson is looking for its first baseball crown. McPherson has won 13 straight. The Bullpups split with rival Buhler on April 7 and lost to an Oklahoma team April 23. Hunter Alvord has a .500 average with 22 steals. Aiden Hoover is also hitting over .450 and Tytin Goebel over .400. Alvord is 5-1 on the mound while Jaret Myers is 6-0 with a 0.88 ERA.

8. El Dorado (10-12) – El Dorado qualified for state baseball for the first time since 2000, per the Butler County Times-Gazette. El Dorado was the No. 12 seed in 4A West. Gannon White leads the Wildcats with a .475 batting average while Jaydon Sundgren is hitting .464 and Drew Veatch with a .448. Bgiggs and Hamm are also hitting over .400 for El Do. Wildcats have had eight pitchers make at least two appearances this year led by 10 appearances from sophomore Chase Lesh. El Dorado captured a 5A title in 1990.

4. Iola (16-4) – Iola has enjoyed consistent baseball success, including a 16-5 record and 3-2 loss to eventual champion Bishop Miege in 2021. Iola defeated Rock Creek, 5-0, in the regional final. RC is the defending 3A state champion. Iola captured the 4A, Division II title in 2018. Jarrett Hermann unofficially leads Kansas in batting average this spring with .704 and could develop into a Division I prospect this summer, his explosiveness as an athlete is off the charts. Brandon McKarnin is also hitting .500 this season for the Mustangs. Ryker Curry is hitting .440 this season. Korbin Cloud, Curry and McKarnin are also solid arms.

5. Ottawa (15-6) – Ottawa finished 12-7 and lost in the first round of regionals last year. Ottawa was the No. 6 seed in 4A East. Ottawa has outscored opponents 169 to 111 this season. While the Cyclones have not played as well at home (4-5 home) as they do away as they’ve been very good on the road with a 9-1 record. Ottawa had a ton of talent coming back from last season in which they saw Chase Bloomer, Austin Nitcher, Brett Hadl, Jake Titus, Cache Crowley all learn at least some type of post season honor in 2021.

2. Tonganoxie (18-3) – Tonganoxie has a four-win improvement after a 14-8 season ago. The Chieftains defeated Bishop Miege, 6-4, in the regional final. Miege is the defending 4A state champion. Gehrig Goldbeck Mason Davenport, Owen Welsch all earned postseason honors last season for Tongie.

7. Abilene (13-8) – Abilene emerged from an upset-minded regional with an 8-7 victory versus Andale/Garden Plain. Abilene was the No. 8 seed in 4A West. Carter Taplin, Stockton Timbrook, Zach Miller were back this season after earning All-NCKL honors last year.

3. Clay Center/Wakefield (16-4) – Clay Center is the defending state runner-up to Bishop Miege. CC defeated Topeka Hayden, 2-1, in the state quarterfinals and 3-2 versus Clearwater in the semifinals. Mark Hoffman earned all-league honors last season as a sophomore for Clay Center as the team graduated the majority of their honored players from 2021.

6. Paola (14-7) – Paola senior Caden Marcum is the reigning 4A player of the year, a top-5 all-classes prospect and a Tennessee baseball signing. Paola defeated Independence, 7-6, in the regional semifinal, and beat Louisburg, 3-1, in the regional final. Paola was a 4A final four squad last season. Dillon Ohlmeier and Dalton Picek both earned all-league honors at infield last season as did Carson Boehm in the outfield.

-Stats were used on teams if they were made available to Sports in Kansas from coaches or access online (stats can be sent to: [email protected] or available on MaxPreps)


Key Question: Can Columbus, in its first state trip, capture a title? TMP has had great momentum recently, while Collegiate has enjoyed a nice season.

1.Wichita Collegiate (20-1) – Wichita Collegiate lost, 11-0, to Minneapolis in the state quarterfinals last year. Collegiate won the Kingman regional and posted a 17-5 record in ’21. Collegiate has won four state titles, last in 2001. Hayden Malaise has 87 striekouts in 46.2 innings pitched while Brett Black has 66 strikeouts in 48.1 innings pitched giving them a solid 1-2 punch. Wetta leads WCS in average at .464 whille Villagomez is hitting .448 and Eichenauer is hitting .446. Hunt and Malaise also have averages over .400 while Black is hitting .391.

8. Goodland (10-11) – Goodland returns to the state tournament for the first time since 2016. Goodland was 7-11 last fall. The Cowboys lost in the state quarterfinals that year. Cole Linton has been a breakout player for Western Kansas this season and is just a sophomore.

4. Girard (20-3) – Girard, led by HC Chris Dunlap, has enjoyed a five-win improvement after a 15-6 last season in 2021. Girard was the No. 3 seed in the Osawatomie regional. Anderson County and Humboldt both entered 19-1. Girard defeated Burlington, 13-3, and beat Humboldt, 11-6. In the final, Girard held off Anderson County, 8-6. Drake Brooks has hit over .500 for the Trojans this season in the leadoff spot and has had an All-3A caliber season. Wyatt Foley is one of the best players in class 3A and Alex Coester has been a breakout player this season with his power. Trevor Amershek has also proved to be one of the top arms in the CNC league.

5. Thomas More Prep-Marian/La Crosse (14-5) – TMP has four-sport, four-year varsity winner Jace Wentling, who authored one of the best all-around careers in Monarch history. Wentling is easily the team’s most experienced player and is headed to Neosho CC baseball. Alum Aaron Breit has done well with guiding the Monarchs through many early season cancellations because of weather. Ace Caden Morgan, a La Crosse player, has delivered a nice season. TMP came out of the Russell regional with an 11-3 win against Larned in the title game. TMP has benefited from its co-op with La Crosse the last two springs. The Monarchs have played 17 games in the last 29 days because of significant early season cancellations. TMP had just two contests as of April 19 – Larned had played nine.

2. Bishop Ward (21-2) – Bishop Ward is a longtime power and lost to eventual champion Rock Creek, 8-5, in the state quarterfinals last spring. Ward won its three regional games, 4-3, 7-0 and 4-1 in the final against Santa Fe Trail. Ward has won 13 state titles with the last coming in 2014. Rector, Fierro, Tapia, Mncinas, Marron, Taylor and De LaTorre also boasted over .400 averages this season when stats were avalable. Manny Dunn is also an arm to look for on the mound for Ward.

7. Halstead (15-8) – Halstead has a five-win improvement after a 10-12 season a year ago. Halstead was the No. 4 seed in its regional and bested Haven, 11-2, in the final. Kaleb Wise leads Halstead with a .387 average this season while Keenan McCune and Tanner Watkins have a .346. Chandler Drake leads the pitching staff at a 4-1 record w/ 1.35 ERA.

3. Columbus (20-2) – Columbus has been one of the best stories of the 2021 baseball season with its first-ever trip to state. Columbus defeated Frontenac, 5-1, in the regional championship game. Kolt Ungeheuer is in his first year high jumping since middle school. He qualified for the state track meet with the top high jump in Kansas at 6-10.5. He is also a standout Columbus player. Seth Stover is 6-foot-6 and a emerging prospect that could jump on some MIAA/Division I radars this summer, he’s likely a top 5 pitcher in Class 3A this season if not higher. Ungeheuer and Stover are part of a big junior class. Columbus was winless in ’17 and had lost two tough regional finals in the last couple of years before the breakthrough. Landon Midgett, described by HC Mick Tedlock as the team leader, has been solid behind the plate all year. Jaxson Haraughty is also a solid leadoff man for the Titans that also feature Kole Minor and Brett Hamilton as hitters. Jack Vilela also came up key as the DH as a freshman in the regional with a game winner.

6. Sabetha (15-7) – Sabetha was the No. 2 seed in the Marysville regional and won its three games, 15-5, 8-5 and 9-6. Sabetha captured baseball titles in ’18 and ’19. Aiden Lang paces with a .424 average. Mitchell Kramer has a .516 on-base percentage.

-Stats were used on teams if they were made available to Sports in Kansas from coaches or access online (stats can be sent to: [email protected] or available on MaxPreps)


Key Questions: Can tradition-laden Colgan – with its strong strength of schedule – win another title?

1.Colony-Crest (23-0) – Last year, Colony-Crest was undefeated entering the state tournament and lost to Spearville in the first round. Crest won the Richmond-Central Heights regional, including a 4-1 win versus Southern Lyon County in the regional championship. Crest is the lone undefeated squad for all classes in Kansas. Stetson Stetter has a .565 average with a .682 on-base percentage. Holden Barker has a .441 average with a .605 on-base percentage. Setter has six homers, while Barker has 21 steals. Trevor Church is one of the best arms in 2-1A baseball and is a major factor for the Lancers.

8. Pittsburg Colgan (9-12) – Colgan is the state’s most tradition-laden program in baseball under longtime coach Mike Watt. The Panthers consistently play a highly challenging schedule and a prohibitive favorite to win state. Colgan was 13-8 entering the state tournament in 2021. Colgan won all three of its 2022 regional games by double figures. Colgan has 19 state titles, most recently ’13-16. One of the years Colgan won the state title with a 14-11 mark. Watt has more than 500 wins with the Panthers. Cooper Simmons may be the best catcher in 2-1A this season and was all-state as a freshman last season. Fellow sophomore Kysen Bennett has been a breakout player for the Panthers on the mound and could figure into 2-1A postseason honors in 2022. Do not look at Colgan’s record, this team is very much capable of winning a state tournament and go 7-to-8 pitchers deep if needed.

4. Elkhart (19-4) – Elkhart has consistently reached the state tournament. Elkhart was 15-5 last season, though lost in the regional title to Spearville, 2-1. Elkhart beat a quality Bucklin/South Central squad, 5-2, in the regional final this year. Elkhart has won six in a row and has permitted just 60 runs this season. Elkhart won state titles in 2002 and ’19. Elkhart had opened with a split against Bucklin before the rematch in the regional final. Elkhart won the Hi-Plains League in ’18, ’19, ’21 and ’22. Cesar Gomez was conference player of the year. Kage Ralstin, Austin Rich and Weston Hall were first teamers. Justin McKinley, Emmitt Espinoza and Julian Duran were second team. Ralstin broke the EHS single season strikeout record.

5. Little River (18-5) – Little River defeated Ellis in the regional final; EHS took third at state last season. LR was 16-4 in 2021, though took a regional semifinal loss to Inman. LR won the Ell-Saline regional with 18-0, 11-1 and 10-3 victories. Kaden Schafer has shown his power this year, earlier this season he hit four home runs in a double header sweep against Ell-Saline.

2. Mission Valley (20-1) – Mission Valley finished 21-2, though lost, 3-0, to Maranatha Christian in the regional final in 2021. This season, MV won the regional final, 12-2, against St. Marys. MV has won five in a row. Keaton Marcotte has a .535 average, while Carter Phillips carries a .512 average and .644 on-base percentage.

7. Whitewater-Remington (15-8) – Remington has enjoyed the biggest turnaround of any team still playing baseball, regardless of classification. Remington has enjoyed a nice sports season with improvements in volleyball, boys’ and girls’ basketball, football and baseball. The Broncos were 6-15 last season. Eventual state champion Sedgwick came out of the regional that had Remington in ’21. Remington has scored 140 runs this season while allowing 111.

3. Valley Falls (19-3) – Valley Falls was the state runner-up to Sedgwick last spring. VF has captured 40 wins in the last two seasons. Valley Falls defeated Maur Hill, 8-3, in the regional championship. Avery Gatzemeyer is a multi-sport standout for Valley Falls. He carries a .461 average. Dylan Cervantez has a .506 average, while Brennen Miller has a .584 on-base percentage. Gatzemeyer has six homers, while Cervantez has 21 steals. Gatzemeyer has a 1.57 earned-run average. VF has won four straight and allowed just 77 runs this season.

6. West Elk (17-6) – West Elk has enjoyed a nice turnaround after an 11-9 season last year. In the regional, WE won back-to-back 15-0 games and defeated Bluestem, 12-6, in the regional championship. Longtime coach Dana Taliaferro will return after 38 years with the program. Since 1985, he has guided WE to six state appearances. Young and Montgomery give the Patriots some very good options on the mound.

-Stats were used on teams if they were made available to Sports in Kansas from coaches or access online (stats can be sent to: [email protected] or available on MaxPreps)

This entry was posted in Baseball. Bookmark the permalink.