By CONOR NICHOLL
Most regular seasons ended Tuesday across Kansas high school baseball and softball. A look at many of the conference champions across the state and classes, headlined by the remarkable 3A Cheney softball regional:
3A Cheney regional features trio of teams that won/shared league crown
The Class 3A Cheney softball regional continues to be likely Kansas’ best postseason bracket. Three of the top-four teams won a conference championship. Haven went 19-1 and won the Central Kansas League. Cheney and Wichita Trinity Academy tied for the Central Plains League and both went 18-2.
Kingman is 16-4. Douglass (11-9) and Halstead (10-10) are also in the Cheney regional.
On Wednesday, KSHSAA officially released the regional schedule. Haven is No. 1 seed, Kingman No. 4. Trinity Academy procured the No. 2 and has the rematch against Chaparral. The two split a regular season doubleheader. Cheney is the No. 3 seed.
On Tuesday, Haven rolled over Pratt, 12-2 and 11-2, to clinch the regional title. Pratt had won 13 straight games before a split against Hillsboro on May 5 and the losses against Haven. Pratt had been the No. 1 seed in 4A West during the season.
Haven is a longtime winner with coach Darin Ashworth, while Cheney is the 2021 3A state champion. Kingman went to state last year and has a new head coach.
Haven’s roster features Mayzie Warden, Zoey Scott, Brookelyn Barnett, Brie Ann Brawner, Kelsi Kincaid, Sophie Faidley, Jaina Smith, Sierra Yoder, Trista Rogers, Avery Brawner, Sadie Estill, Morgan O’Neal, Karlee Cooprider, Miley Burns and Sorrel De Frain. Brawner is a great player who carried a .473 average the last two seasons and worked 51.1 innings in the circle last year.
Haven has tallied double figures in 18 of its 20 games. Ashworth is 259-71 in 15 years with Haven. Kincaid, Brawner and Barnett are seniors. Last year, Haven took third in the Central Kansas League. Estill was first team all-state, and Brawner honorable mention all-state last season. Haven won the league for the fifth time in the last six played springs: ’17-’19 and ’21.
Cheney has featured several wild games in 2023. The 8-7 Kingman loss featured five runs in the bottom of the seventh from Kingman. The game had 27 hits, including 17 from Cheney. Kingman had three hits and Cheney committed three errors. Peyton McCormick has been key in the circle for Cheney, while seniors Elina Bartlett and Anna Martin are top hitters.
Trinity Academy, as noted by SIK several times this spring, has enjoyed its colossal improvement. Trinity was winless in 2021, won five games last season and is 18-2 this spring. Trinity has 10 total players, no seniors and four freshmen.
Trinity split two doubleheaders with Cheney and Chaparral. Kingman split doubleheaders with Pratt, Trinity Academy, Chaparral and Cheney.
For Trinity Academy, sophomore centerfielder Regan Allen hit .483, Courtney Cross was at .479, Liberty Lewis at .469 and Madison Cross at .448. Ava Lay was at .424, and Dominique Schellenger at .422. Allen and Schellenger both slugged over .700.
Avery Pickard is at .368, Isabel Velazquez-Wallace at .351 and Klarla Robertson at .341.
Schellenger posted 73 strikeouts against 41 walks with 25 earned runs. Lewis has 79 strikeouts with 17 walks and 10 earned runs. Schellenger has a .174 batting average against, and Lewis at .178.
3A No. 1 Silver Lake completes great season with conference title
Silver Lake won the Mid-East League softball title. The Eagles have been considered 3A’s top team most of the year. SL finished 18-2, including eight total wins against Perry-Lecompton (11-9), 5A No. 1 Basehor-Linwood (18-2), Rossville (12-4) and St. Marys (15-5). SL went 10-0 in league and outscored league opponents 105-9. The Eagles finished the regular season with a pair of non-league run rule victories, 14-1 and 15-0, against Hiawatha. SL ace Avery Wende is among the state’s best pitchers. Longtime rival Silver Lake and Rossville are favorites to meet in the regional final.
4A Clay Center wins NCKL baseball
Clay Center finished 19-1 and won the North Central Kansas League baseball title. Clay Center is three games ahead of the field in 4A West. CC outscored teams by an average margin of 14-2. The Tigers easily lead 4A in offense and rank second in 4A runs allowed. CC’s only loss came in a split against Rock Creek (17-1).
3A Beloit/Southeast of Saline wins NCAA softball
Beloit and Southeast of Saline both took one loss in NCAA play. Beloit senior pitcher Chloe Odle, a Butler County CC commit and among the state’s top hurlers, cleared 300 career strikeouts earlier this spring, per Beloit radio. After 14 regular season games, Odle had 78 strikeouts and a 0.54 ERA. Beloit lost to Hoisington in the Hays regional final last spring. This season, Beloit is 15-3 and leads the Concordia regional. On April 20, Beloit defeated Southeast of Saline, 1-0, and took a 13-2 loss.
SES leads the Lyons regional with an 18-2 mark. Also at Lyons, Hoisington/Central Plains is 15-4, and Ellsworth has delivered a big jump with a 15-5 record. Hoisington has won nine in a row.
5A Hays High wins Western Athletic Conference softball, baseball
Hays High has enjoyed a strong season. Since the year started, SIK has pinpointed the Indians has an experienced squad that should make a nice improvement. HHS won the WAC title and stands at 13-5 behind sophomore Riley Dreher and junior Aubree Thomas, the likely conference player of the year. Dreher, an all-state honorable mention pick last season, carries a .582 average with 12 extra base hits, including three homers.
Thomas, who has a Highland CC offer, has 94 strikeouts and a 2.13 ERA in 69 innings, along with a .474 average. Hays High is 13-5. Dez Schmidt has a .458 average, while Elle Dreiling carries a .439 mark with nine walks. Hays High last won WAC softball in 2011. Thomas cleared 300 career strikeouts.
Hays High baseball wrapped up the WAC title a couple of weeks ago. HHS is 11-9.
3A Scott City softball regional with two league titlists
Haskell County, the co-op of Satanta and Sublette, won the Hi-Plains League for the third straight season. HC is 19-1 overall, believed to be the best regular season finish in Satanta and/or Sublette history. It’s definitely the best mark since the Haskell County team was formed. Haskell County outscored opponents, 327-78 and hit eight homers. As a team, Haskell County carries a team batting average over .500. Yanisa Gonzalez had her first-ever career home run and hit the cycle in the regular season final.
The 3A Scott City regional is highly intriguing with Holcomb (17-1), Cimarron/Ingalls (14-6), Scott City (13-7), Goodland (12-8), Colby (11-9) and Lakin (10-10). Holcomb swept Colby, 14-1 and 13-3, to win the GWAC title on Tuesday.
3A Columbus baseball wins the CNC title
Columbus is the defending 3A state baseball runner-up and completed the best season in school history in 2022. The Titans won the CNC league title after its 6-5, 11-4 sweep of previously undefeated Frontenac last Friday. Columbus lost to an Oklahoma school on March 18 and defeated Girard, 5-3, on April 28. Columbus and Frontenac are both 17-2 and will be in the Girard regional.
Seth Stover, the reigning 3A pitcher of the year and an Emporia State commit, went 107 pitches against Frontenac. Kayden Cox worked in both games with 86 pitches in one contest and 15 in the other.
3A Russell baseball, Goodland baseball wins league crowns
Russell/Victoria finished 8-0 in NCAA play and 19-1 overall. Jackson Cross, a Cloud baseball commit, and Mason Rohr are among top players for Russell.
Goodland captured the GWAC title and stands at 15-4. Goodland will host the Goodland regional and will feature Russell, Scott City (15-4), Holcomb (14-4) and Colby (10-10). Goodland has not lost to a Kansas team since March 31.
Goodland junior ace Cole Linton has enjoyed a big year. In seven appearances, he has a 4-0 record and 1.26 ERA in 33.1 innings. Linton has 57 strikeouts against nine walks. Goodland was 10-10 last year.
Kyan Ensign has a .423 average and a .559 on-base percentage. Manny Gonzalez has posted a .383 average and a .532 on-base percentage, along with 16 steals. Mason Hernandez has a .373 average with five homers, while Maverick Spresser has posted a .475 on-base percentage.
6A Olathe Northwest softball wins the Sunflower League
Olathe Northwest delivered a 20-0 record and won the Sunflower League, generally the state’s best softball league. ONW is loaded with Division I-caliber talent, including Kendall Yarnell, a Central Florida commit.
On Wednesday, Northwest finished a 19-7 win against Olathe North and beat Manhattan, 6-2. Northwest gained separation in the league with a 2-1 win against Shawnee Mission North on April 18, and a 16-12 victory versus Olathe West on April 4. West is 19-1, and SM North is 16-4.
Northwest has the best record in 6A. The Ravens pace 6A with 10.8 runs a contest
4A Rose Hill softball undefeated AVCTL IV titlists
Rose Hill, featured on SIK a couple of weeks ago, was undefeated AVCTL Division IV league champions. It’s believed to be Rose Hill’s first unshared softball title in more than 30 years. Rose Hill (16-4) tied Pratt for the second-best record in 4A West. McPherson (17-3) is first, while much improved Mulvane (15-5) is fourth. Those four teams earn regional host slots.
McPherson won AVCTL Division III because of its doubleheader sweep against Mulvane on May 1. RH senior Camrynn Yardley has a great two-way season with a .500 average, 10 doubles, one triple, seven homers and 31 RBI. She led Rose Hill in multiple offensive categories.
Junior Paige Green carried a .429 average, while senior Karley Grinstead had a .421 average. Junior Reese Goetz had a .403 mark, senior Carly Lee has a .362 average, and sophomore Addie Rea has a .358 average. In the circle, Yardley is 9-2 with a 2.30 ERA in 67 innings. Green has a 6-2 mark with a 4.30 ERA with 57 innings.
2-1A Colony-Crest completes undefeated regular season; one of two undefeated squads in Kansas high school baseball
Colony-Crest had the best season in school history last season with a 22-2 record and 2-1A final four showing in ’22. The Lancers completed a 19-0 regular season and has the most combined wins in Kansas high school baseball in the last two years. Crest won the Three Rivers League title. In its first 18 games, Crest outscored teams, 218-8.
Four of the leading six hitters seniors: freshman Jensen Barker (.588 average), junior Rogan Weir (.562), Stetson Setter (.525), Trevor Church (.489), junior Jack White (.412), senior Holden Barker (.360). Church is 8-0 with a 0.00 ERA with 79 strikeouts and nine walks in 36.1 innings.
Trinity Academy (18-0) paces the 3A Chaparral regional and is the lone other undefeated Kansas baseball team.
3A Humboldt baseball wins Tri-Valley League crown
Humboldt easily paces the 3A Burlington regional. The Cubs finished 19-1, while second-seeded Southeast of Saline, 13-7. Humboldt picked up two extra inning victories against league teams. The Cubs beat Neodesha, 10-9, in extra innings in the season-opening doubleheader May 27. Then, Humboldt ended the regular season with a 3-0 and 14-12 extra inning victories against Caney Valley. In the last two seasons, Holcomb is 39-3 and tied with Columbus (39-5) and ’22 4A champion McPherson (39-6) for the second-most combined wins in the last two seasons.
2-1A Elkhart baseball finishes 2-1 against much bigger schools
Class 2-1A Elkhart baseball, which rolled to a Hi-Plains League title, finished its regular season playing teams with much bigger enrollment. The Wildcats lost, 4-2, to 6A Liberal on May 1. On May 4 and May 9, Elkhart won single games against 4A Ulysses, 8-7 and 12-6. Elkhart is 17-1 and is the clear favorite in the Spearville regional.