Tiger SB, Kaw BB to debut at state
Jefferson West top seeded at Pratt
by Clarke Davis
The Jefferson West softball team earned a ticket to state for the first time in the program’s history.
Coach Chad Jackson said it was an exciting time for the girls and well earned.
The Tigers ended their regular season 17-1 to be seeded first in the regional bracket.
They defeated Perry-Lecompton and then faced Royal Valley in the championship game. They shut out Royal Valley, 5-0, the only team they had lost a game to all season.
“Our pitcher, Olivia Brees, wanted this one,” Jackson said. “This was the team that spoiled her perfect season.”
Jackson coached a relatively young team with five seniors, some of whom are starters. Four are juniors and the rest are freshmen and sophomores.
Brees is a junior and the lead pitcher followed by freshman Faith Becker.
“This is a group of girls with good chemistry. They were provided great leadership by the seniors and stayed focused,” Jackson said. “The seniors set the tone.”
“I can’t overstate the value of our lead pitcher, Olivia,” he said. “She had 160 strikeouts and an unbelievable ERA of .741 . . . and she trusted her team.” The 160 strikeout broke her own record to 132 last year.
The 4A Division II state tournament is in Pratt May 29 and 30 where the Tigers (19-1) are seeded No. 1. They will meet Chapman (14-8) in the first round. Goodland (19-3) is seeded No. 2 in the lower bracket.
Perry-Lecompton to meet Goodland
by Clarke Davis
The Perry-Lecompton baseball team emerged victorious in the regional championship game against Jefferson West May 20 at Ozawkie and will be going to state.
In a pitchers’ dual, the teams were scoreless until the top of the seventh inning. The Kaws’ Zac Linquist got a walk and was advanced to second by a sacrifice bunt by Bowen Cunningham. Pitcher Drew Scrimsher got a two-base hit to bring the runner home.
That was the game. The Tigers were unable to answer in the bottom of the seventh.
To get to the championship, top seeded Jefferson West (16-2) defeated Royal Valley (1-17) 12 to 6. Second seed Perry-Lecompton (16-3) defeated Holton (5-9) by a score of 11 to 2.
This is the first trip to state in the 20-year history of the Kaws’ baseball program and the second straight year they have been league champions.
“These boys had something to prove and they got it done,” said coach Kent Houk.
The Kaws and Tigers had split a doubleheader only two weeks previous to the regional tournament.
“Both teams deserved to go,” Houk said, noting that Tiger coach Dan Hypse was gracious after the game and “wished us well.”
Houk, who is in his fifth year as coach, had five starter seniors who have been with the team since they were freshmen.
“Actually I coached three of our players in Little League when they were 9 years old,” he said.
The Kaws’ success has come at the plate with a team batting average of .347. Lindquist has a batting average of .493 followed by Daniel Munoz-Crow, .391, Douglas Shuck, .366, Brandon Eddy, .359, Bailey Pattin, .356, and Scrimsher at .321.
The pitching staff consists of Scrimsher, who had 45 strikeouts in 46 innings and an ERA of 1.65 and Jacob Bond with 31 strikeouts in 45 innings and an ERA of .311. Lindquist is the closer who has 48 strikeouts in his 27 innings on the mound and an ERA of .256.
Scrimsher pitched six innings against Jefferson West and Linquist finished the seventh.
“Drew had thrown nearly 100 pitches by that time. I felt it was time to make a change,” Houk said.
The coach said the championship team has been making steady progress through the years.
“We went from just competing to winning and the record has improved every year,” he said.
Houk owns Travellers Inc., a travel agency in Lawrence, and his roots run deep in community baseball. His father, Walt, started a Douglas County amateur league in the early ’70s and Kent has coached for many years.
A cousin, Ralph Houk, followed Casey Stengel as a New York Yankees manager in the early ’60s.
“My grandfather, Walter Sr., was drafted by the Yankees but never got to play. He was killed in World War II,” Houk said. “Baseball runs deep in our family.”
His years of coaching youth sports in Lawrence made him familiar with many in the Perry and Lecompton communities, which enticed him to apply for the coaching position at the high school.
The Kaws (19-3) are seeded No. 1 in the Class 4A DII state tournament to be held at Pratt Community College May 29 and 30. The team will face Goodland (7-13) at 11 a.m. Thursday.
The second round begins at 11 a.m. Friday and the championship is at 6:30 p.m.
Seeded No. 2 in the bottom bracket is Burlington (18-4). The other teams at state are Baxter Springs (18-4), Concordia (15-5), KC Bishop Ward (12-10), Wichita Trinity Academy (18-4), and Russell Victoria (14-8).
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