By: Aaron Pyle
Girard Lady Trojans– Last season, the Lady Trojans were ranked #1 in the regional riding an undefeated streak. This season has proved to be more of a learning curve as returning head coach Jerry O’Rand and his team looks to gain needed momentum heading into tournament play. Girard finished their regular season last in the conference battling through a strenuous schedule.
“It has been a difficult season, but the great part of all this is we have a chance! There is no dominant team in our regional,” said Coach O’Rand. “I would say seed 1-6 all have a chance to make the state playoffs, and we are number 6. It will take us playing sound defense without the fielding errors that have plagued us all season.”
Senior Abbi Smith has been a driving force for the Lady Trojans offense during the regular season as she looks to carry her success into the post-season. Batting .465 on the season, Smith leads the team in total hits (20) and RBI’s (21).
#6 Girard (7-9) is set to face the #3 Baxter Springs Lions (11-7) in first-round play Monday, May 13 in Galena.
Girard Trojans– The Girard Trojans have had a bit of a struggle as the regular season came to a close, going 2-6 in their final eight games. Coach Steve Bever and his team look to find an edge as they head into regional play.
Seniors Evan Troike and Connor Dillon look to lead the team as they’ve established themselves as dominant forces in the Trojan lineup. Troike leads the team, prior to regionals, in batting average (.395) on-base percentage (.582) as well as slugging percentage (.658). Dillon holds dominance in total hits (20) along with total RBI’s (20).
In their first-round matchup, #7 Girard (7-10) will square off against the #2 Caney Valley Bullpups (12-4) Monday, May 13.
St. Paul Indians– St. Paul’s season has been one of inexperience along with learning, finishing last in their league. Winless on the season, the #7 Indians (0-14) will look to upset the highly-favored #2 Northeast Vikings (12-2) in their first-round matchup Monday, May 13.
The first round is set to be played at Northeast while the winner will advance and play their next game at Southeast.
Northeast Vikings– Finishing runner-up this season in their league, it’s been a turnaround season for Coach Shane Wade and his Northeast Vikings. The Vikings won’t have their work cut out for them though as they are set to compete in one of the toughest regionals in the state.
Teams competing with the Vikings for a shot at state include; last years’ regional champions #1 Southeast (17-2) and Tri-Valley league champs #3 Humboldt (17-3).
Junior Matt Cashero has been on a tear prior to regionals leading in batting average (.682), total hits (30) as well as an on-base percentage (.770). Cashero also leads the attack on the mound for the Vikings with an ERA of 1.25 striking out 47 batters this season in his 28 innings pitched.
In their first-round matchup, the #2 Vikings (12-2) will face #7 St. Paul Indians (0-14) Monday, May 13 as the game will be played on Northeast’s home-field.
Southeast Lancers– Last years’ regional champions and #1 seed Southeast Lancers carry a ton of momentum heading into the first round of regional play. The Lancers finished their regular season co-champions of their league sharing the title with Jayhawk-Linn.
Southeast looks to repeat their regional title in what could be seen as the most grueling assignments in the state with teams like the #2 Northeast Vikings (12-2), #3 Humboldt Cubs (17-3), and the #4 Uniontown Eagles (11-5).
Losing only a few players from last season, the Lancers return with an arsenal of players hungry for a berth in the state tournament. Senior Bryce Petersen headlines the offensive attack for Southeast leading the team in total hits (24) and RBI’s (19) during the regular season. Senior C.J. Peacock has emerged as one of the top pitchers in 2A with an ERA of 1.17 in his five appearances on the mound. Peacock struck out 52 batters this season as well which marks a historic high for Lancer baseball.
In the first-round, the Lancers (18-2) receive a bye automatically advancing to the semifinal where they will play the winner #4 Uniontown (11-5) vs. #5 St. Mary’s-Colgan (8-10). Second-round play begins Tuesday, May 14 as the Lancers will have a home-field advantage with the regional being hosted at Southeast High School.