All-star teams finish 3rd in tourneys
The youth baseball and softball season is over in Marion County. Three Cottonwood Valley All Star squads played tournaments in three different states, and all three finished in third.
10 and under baseball
Head coach Jayson Hanschu was proud of the way his team performed in the Midwest Plains Regional in Nebraska over the weekend.
Fresh off a state championship win, the team represented Kansas against teams from Canada, North Dakota and Colorado.
In the second game of a three-team round robin pool play, the team was in a tight game with Bismarck, North Dakota before having a bad inning.
“Everything went their way and nothing went our way,” he said.
What had been a 9-7 game finished at 19-7, called under a mercy rule.
After pool play, the team was entered in a single-elimination tournament.
It’s first round opponent? Bismarck, North Dakota.
After taking a 5-0 lead into the fifth inning, the Cottonwood Valley team allowed four runs in the fifth and saved a potential tying run with a nice relay from the outfield. They went on to secure the win in the sixth inning.
It was similar to the state championship, where the team beat a team that had beaten it in the previous game to advance.
“The courage and heart of these kids, to come out and beat the team that had just run-ruled you the night before,” Hanschu said, “you can’t say enough about it.”
Hanschu said that, though it was a team effort, Seth Lanning of Marion had an exceptional pitching weekend and Matthew Potucek performed well at the plate.
Hanschu’s team finished with a 11-1 loss to the team from Colorado the following day in the semifinal.
No consolation game was played, leaving the team tied for third in the regional.
15 and under baseball
Craig Schanker’s voice was rife with dejection; his team had been so close.
At the state tournament in Garden City, Schanker’s team won its first two games, beating Frontenac 14-7 and Garden City 5-4. Its next two games, however, were losses to Lincoln (10-4 in nine innings) and Garden City (3-2).
Schanker was proud of the way his team fought. Peyton Heidebrecht of Marion, Blake Buchman of Council Grove, and Brendan Johnson of Chase County made the all-tournament team. Troy Conley, Dalton Schanker, and Alec Keller, all of Chase County, all won individual honors as well for their performance in games.
Schanker was complimentary of Nathan Baldwin of Marion as well, lauding his catching through the first three games. Baldwin switched to third base in the final game and made five put-outs on five balls hit to him.
Heidebrecht made a strong impression on the coach as well.
“That Heidebrecht kid was unbelievable,” Schanker said. “He was the only pitcher in the whole tournament that slowed Garden City down.
“To be perfectly honest, no one probably expected us to do anything. But we really played good.”
10 and under softball
At the Midwest Plains Regional in Morehead, Minnesota, the Cottonwood Valley all stars went 6-2 over the weekend, and beat every team at the tournament at least once.
In the opening round of the tournament, a round robin pool play stage, the team went a perfect 5-0. The team faced stiff competition including state champions from Colorado and last year’s state champion from Kansas.
In bracket play, however, the team was upended by the teams from Colorado and Kansas. Head coach Randy Savage classified the girls’ performance as “pretty stinkin’ exceptional.”
Kori Arnold of Hillsboro and Jayden May of Marion handled most of the pitching duties.
“For a team that had no more than eight practices together, I thought we came together very well,” Savage said.