BHS baseball crushes Kaws to end senior night
Baldwin High School’s baseball team couldn't sweep anyone during the regular season, but it did rout the Perry-Lecompton Kaws in its final contest before the regional tournament.
First-year head coach Brian Turk and his players were hoping their first doubleheader sweep would happen Monday at home for senior night. However, struggles during the opening game prevented that from happening.
Instead of sweeping the Kaws, the Bulldogs split their doubleheader and run-ruled their first opponent of the spring. The Bulldogs won the second game 16-0 after losing 7-6 in the opener.
“It was awesome,” senior Nate Growcock said of the 16-0 victory. “That was a great confidence boost for us going into regionals.”
Baldwin came out on fire in the second game. BHS scored 14 runs in the first inning, which is the most its scored in a single inning all season. Nearly every BHS player scored a run in the first inning.
“All of the seniors started in game two,” Turk said. “We put together a huge first inning. They really played with some energy and got a win. It was a really nice way for them to go out at home.”
With the offense clicking, senior Justin Vander Tuig had plenty of cushion on the mound. The Bulldogs’ ace didn’t need any cushion as he shut down the Kaws’ offense. The game ended in the third inning by run rule.
“That’s the first time we’ve run-ruled anybody,” Turk said. “We were disciplined at the plate. We had very nice plate approaches, which we didn’t have in game one. They sit back and drove the baseball. It was like a whole different team between game one and game two. That’s something we’ve been dealing with. We seem to have two different teams with the same group of guys.”
In the opening game, Perry-Lecompton jumped out to a lead. The Kaws led 7-4 late in the game before Baldwin scored two in the fifth inning to close the lead. Baldwin was unable to score another run and lost 7-6.
“In the first game, we had six errors and six walks,” Turk said. “To lose by one run, we are pretty lucky that we are in that chance to have an opportunity to win. We just didn’t come out ready to go and it put us behind. That cost us in the first game.”
Senior Kyle Pattrick hit two home runs Monday. Fellow senior Josh Hoffman also hit a home run against the Kaws.
On Friday, Baldwin hosted Paola in a doubleheader at home. BHS won the first game 8-3 and lost the second contest 10-9. The second game was the Bulldogs’ fourth one-run loss of the season.
“We really played one of our best games in that first one against Paola,” Turk said. “It was an all-around solid performance. In game two, we competed well. Paola put the ball in play better and we had a few errors. We were leading going into the seventh inning. We had a couple of unfortunate plays that didn’t go our way and we came out with another loss.”
Hoffman had seven RBIs in the second contest against Paola, which included a home run.
“Josh has been spanking the baseball,” Turk said. “He’s another guy that was hit with the injury bug. He’s played in 11 games and he has 23 RBIs. He’s only played about six at full speed and he’s hitting .450 with a few home runs. He’s a difference maker at the plate.”
The Bulldogs finished the regular season with a 7-13 season. They started 0-8 as they lost to top Frontier League teams and squads that played in the state tournament a year ago.
“We ended the regular season playing pretty well after a rough start,” Turk said. “We had some early injury issues that set us back. We battled and finished the season 7-5 over the last 12 games.”
BHS will next play in the regional tournament. They will play Bonner Springs (8-12) at 4:30 p.m. Monday at the Mid-America Sports Complex in Shawnee.
“We’re very dangerous in a one-game setting in tournament play,” Turk said. “We’ve put some nice games together. We’re hoping to put one together in the first game of regionals. You never know what can happen.”
“We have the talent to do great things,” he said. “We have got the 90 percent physical part down, but we just have to be prepared with the mental half. We can be as good as we want to be. I think we have what it takes to pull off an upset.”