By CONOR NICHOLL
Sports In Kansas looks at two pitchers with a 0.00 ERA, several challenging strength of schedules and team notes from around the state.
0.00 – Wamego softball, the defending 4A state champions, is off to a 15-0 start. The Red Raiders won their first-ever softball championship last spring and has enjoyed its well-publicized success across the board, including football, wrestling, basketball and girls’ golf. Wamego has won 23 straight contests.
Last season, Maya Gallagher and Halley Asbury pitched nearly all of the Red Raiders’ innings. Gallagher, currently a junior and a Holy Cross commit, worked 89 innings with a 2.12 earned-run average in 18 innings. She struck out 111 against six walks. Asbury delivered 54.1 innings with a 4.25 ERA with 86 strikeouts against 17 walks. Asbury is a freshman pitcher at Highland Community College and helped HCC to a conference championship this spring.
This spring, Gallagher, a returning first team all-state selection and the Manhattan Mercury player of the year, has again had a big campaign. She carries a .500 average and paces with six homers. She has delivered a 2.43 ERA in 46 innings with 78 strikeouts against eight walks.
Freshman Peyton Hardenburger, though, has emerged with a huge season. The daughter of Wamego middle school boys’ basketball coach Travis Hardenburger, Peyton has delivered a 0.00 earned-run average. She has received significant Division I interest, especially in the SEC, and has traveled all over, including California, Texas and Oklahoma.
She has delivered 35 innings with 88 strikeouts with eight walks. Hardenburger has permitted 10 hits and five unearned runs. Hardenburger has permitted a .081 opponents’ batting average. She struck out 20 against Silver Lake.
On April 26, Hardenburger and Wamego beat Silver Lake, 4-1 and 9-1. On Friday, Wamego beat Abilene, 3-0. This Monday is the rescheduled doubleheader between Wamego and 3A Rossville (14-0). Wamego has permitted just 28 total runs. Last season, Wamego allowed 81 runs.
Additionally, Hardenburger also leads with a .571 average. Junior Ashten Pierson is second with a .522 average. Hardenburger and Pierson pace with 24 hits. Gallagher has six homers, senior Delaney Campbell has a .469 average and five HRs. Pierson, Gallagher and Campbell are all returning first team all-state players. Hardenburger plays third base when not pitching.
Second baseman Paige Donnelly, center fielder Trista Hoobler, first baseman Ryann Alderson, right fielder Bailey Thornton, catcher Jordan Diehl and left fielder Kenedi Hirt are also key players.
Wamego has a team .384 average, .456 on-base percentage and a .577 slugging percentage, numbers comparable to last season. Wamego went .394/464/603 last season. Rossville coach John Nitsch told SIK that he believed Wamego is probably better than last season.
0.00-Both Eisenhower teams won conference titles this spring. Eisenhower junior Tyner Horn has posted a 0.00 ERA. In 22.2 innings, he has struck out 38 against four walks with five hits allowed. Horn has permitted one earned run with a 2-0 record. In his last start last Tuesday, he struck out 11.
In the team’s first 100 innings, Eisenhower has posted a 2.80 ERA. Seniors Cael Sanderson and Trey Omli and junior Cooper Adams have delivered key seasons. Coach Mike Warren won more than 900 career baseball games at Barton County before he eventually took over at Eisenhower.
On Friday, Eisenhower split with Maize and its longtime coach Rocky Helm. Eisenhower stands at 11-4 following a 10-1 win versus the Eagles and a 6-5 loss. Maize is also 11-4. They are tied with Bishop Carroll for second with 5A West.
Horn and Maize’s Jaden Gustafson have committed to Wichita State baseball. Plus, Maize three-sport standout Avery Johnson is one of the nation’s top quarterback prospects.
6 – Silver Lake softball is 10-6 and part of the 3A Sabetha regional with Rossville (14-0) and Nemaha Central (12-4). Silver Lake and Bishop Carroll are the premier traditional powers in Kansas softball history. SL was the state runner-up to Frontenac in ’19 and Cheney last spring. All six losses for Silver Lake have come against teams with undefeated records, which is likely the hardest strength of schedule in Kansas for all classes. No other team has faced so many teams that have not yet lost.
On April 11, SL lost to Rossville, 10-1 and 9-8. On April 26, Silver Lake lost to Wamego, 4-1 and 9-1. On April 28, Silver Lake fell to Basehor-Linwood, 4-1 and 11-0. SL has elite pitcher Avery Wende, a Division I-talented pitcher, along with several talented freshmen in the infield. Additionally, Taryn Burkhardt signed with Johnson County Community College last week.
9 – Similarly to Silver Lake, 5A Hays High baseball is 10-8 and has played a highly challenging schedule, perhaps Kansas’ hardest. HHS returned the bulk of its key players from last season’s 5A third-place squad. Hays High returned senior Dylan Dreiling (Tennessee commit, returning 5A POY), senior Garrett Wellbrock (Fort Hays signing) and Carson Spray, among others.
Hays High went 1-3 at its own Western Plains Diamond Classic this weekend against multiple talented squads. Dreiling broke the HHS all-time single season home run record with nine. The tournament featured Manhattan, Great Bend, Wichita Trinity and Life Prep, a non-KSHSAA team.
Life Prep went 4-0, has won 14 straight and stands at 20-7. In the opener, rival Great Bend defeated Hays High, 8-6. HHS had the tying runs on base in the seventh, per Indian broadcaster Dustin Armbruster.
Then, the Indians lost, 4-2, to Manhattan in 15 innings, a game when Dreiling hit his ninth homer, a two-out, two-run shot in the 12th. Dreiling pitched 9.1 innings with one hit allowed with 11 strikeouts against two walks in a no-decision against Manhattan. HHS defeated Trinity Academy, 3-2.
Manhattan is currently leading 6A West with a 13-3 record and has permitted just three runs a game, best in 6A West, per KSHSAA. Great Bend stands at 13-5 and has allowed just 3.89 runs a game. Great Bend finished 2-1 against HHS this season is currently fifth in 5A West. Trinity entered the Classic at 9-3.
Great Bend and Hays High shared the WAC championship. Senior Chayse Gruber is a Neosho CC commit. In his first 35 innings, he struck out 38 against five walks with a 1.00 ERA and a .543 batting average.
Additionally, Hays High has losses against De Soto (12-6) and Washburn Rural (13-5) and wins against Basehor-Linwood (8-11) and Bonner Springs (5-11) with a loss versus Blue Valley West (18-1).
Life Prep’s Jesus Rodriguez and Hamin Feliz have committed to Johnson County Community College, while BVW shortstop Jackson Lovich has committed to Missouri. Those three and Dreiling are among the top-10 baseball prospects for all classes in Kansas. HHS remains a strong 5A contender even with multiple close losses.
8 – Columbus softball won the CNC championship for the first time. Addi Saporito is a star player for the Titans. Columbus stands at 17-2 and paces the Baxter Springs regional. Frontenac is 14-3, while Girard stands at 14-3. On Thursday, Columbus split with Frontenac with an 9-8 loss and a 11-2 win in games played at Pittsburg State University. Earlier in the season, Columbus swept Girard. Columbus also split with Pittsburg in a non-conference matchup. Columbus had lost eight straight against Frontenac from ’13-16. Katie Simpson and Graci Major both homered for Columbus.
Columbus’ starting lineup is: center fielder Katie Simpson, third baseman Lily Mooney, pitcher Aubree Saporito, first baseman Graci Major, shortstop KT Lopp, left fielder Lexy Stone, catcher Addi Saporito, right fielder Torey Tedlock and second baseman Jailyn Rodriguez.
.568 – Garden City softball captured the Western Athletic Conference title after a WAC championship last season. GC stands at 15-4. Standout Brie Manwarren carries a .568 average and .600 on-base percentage, both team-bests. In the circle, Manwarren carries a 10-1 with a 1.47 ERA and 133 strikeouts against 10 walks in 81 innings. On Saturday, GC fell, 11-0, to Blue Valley Southwest, the Buffs’ first loss since March 26.
.592 – Holton’s Gracie Gallagher carries a .592 average with 12 extra-base hits, along with a 7-1 record and a 1.95 earned-run average. Holton is currently second in 4A West behind Wamego at 16-2. In 4A West, Eudora, led by pitcher Kira Baker, has allowed 1.44 runs a game. Wamego is second at 1.75, and Holton stands at 1.83. Holton has won eight straight. The Wildcats have consistently been excellent in recent seasons, including 19-6, 20-3 and 23-2 in the last three years.
Gallagher and Sadie Walker have again had huge springs. Both have committed to Washburn. Walker has a .545 season and a .603 on-base percentage. Gallagher has a .596 on-base percentage. Timber Wilson is hitting .526, while Staci Bond has 17 steals.
Mission Valley softball has garnered plenty of attention behind junior pitcher Morgan Tomlinson. MV baseball remains undefeated at 15-0. Keaton Marcotte carries a .535 average with three homers and 29 RBI. Carter Phillips has a .512 average, while Joel Deters has a .440 average. Mission Valley is easily the top team in 2-1A Wabaunsee regional where no other squad has a winning record.
Elkhart’s Cesar Gomez has carried the Wildcats with a .685 average with five homers and 27 RBI. Elkhart is 14-4 and will host its own regional. Bucklin/Coldwater paces the Elkhart regional with a 15-1 record.
Spearville softball stands at 14-2 behind a huge season from Kara Brakey. Bucklin/South Central and Spearville are 14-2, while Ellis stands at 11-3 in the Spearville regional. Brakey holds a .750 average with 33 hits in 44 at-bats. Bucklin junior Halie Feikert has a .694 average.
Anderson County senior Derek Rockers has a .536 batting average with 25 RBI, along with a 0.90 ERA with 53 strikeouts in 31 innings. The Osawatomie regional has Humboldt (17-1), Anderson County (16-1), Osage City (16-2) and Girard (16-3).
Sedgwick, the reigning 2-1A baseball champions, stands at 14-1. The Cardinals have enjoyed big seasons from Lance Hoffsommer and Connor Tillman. Both were first team all-state football and have signed to play college football.
Burlingame softball has only taken two losses to Mission Valley. On Friday, the Bearcats defeated Valley Falls, 10-0. Izzy Masters went 3 of 3. Savannah Short was 2 of 2 with two RBI. Kenna Masters was 2 of 3 with three RBI. Gracie Simmons was 2 of 3. Alexandra Crook struck out 11 and earned her ninth win.
Last Tuesday, Burlingame defeated Lyndon, 12-7 and 9-4. Daelyn Winters went 5 of 8 and bumped her average to .583. Crook went 4 of 9 and struck out 13 in the circle. Joselyn Simmons earned its sixth victory. The 2-1A St. Marys regional has Mission Valley (16-2), Burlingame (15-2) and Lyndon (9-7).
On Saturday, Council Grove swept Osage City, 14-0 and 10-0, on Senior Night. CG improved to 17-2 and remains a strong 3A contender. CG has six seniors in the starting lineup: Mija Carlson, Karly Goodell, Liz Mascote, Liz Armstrong, Paisli Butler and Elle Dragone, a Harding (Ark.) commit. CG has won six in a row and outscored teams, 207-37. Council Grove, like Troy, could enjoy the best season in school history. The Braves have one all-time state appearance, a quarterfinal loss in ’16.
Dragone has a .629 average with three homers and 17 RBI. Carlson carries a .540 average, and Butler has a .482 average. Carlson has 23 steals, Dragone has 17. Filkin has a 1.12 ERA. Butler has two homers and committed zero errors.
Troy softball has completed the regular season undefeated in 2-1A. The Trojans are 18-0. Troy, led by a big senior class and junior pitcher Paityn Engemann, look to go to state for the first time.
In the 2-1A Central-Burden regional, West Elk and Oxford stand at 16-1 and 12-1, respectively. They split a doubleheader April 4.
Per MaxPreps, Kansas top-5 baseball hitters: Republic County’s Caleb Bates (.727 average), Iola’s Jarrett Herrman (.704), Holcomb’s Kaden Johnson (.622), Washington County’s Ryan Hooks and Colony-Crest junior Stetson Setter (.585).