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Morning Sun
  • Frontenac's Vail, Standlee sign with Pittsburg State baseball

  • Before games last year, Frontenac head baseball coach Bill Sullivan would ask pitcher Blake Vail how he was feeling.

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  • Before games last year, Frontenac head baseball coach Bill Sullivan would ask pitcher Blake Vail how he was feeling.
    “You’d ask him how he felt, and he’d tell you he feels amazing,” Sullivan said. “If he didn’t say amazing, you knew he wasn’t 100 percent. It was just something about the way he said it, too.”
    Wednesday, Vail and fellow Raider Matt Standlee signed national letters of intent to play baseball just down the road at Pittsburg State once their high school seasons have finished up.
    Vail and Standlee were big parts of the Frontenac Raiders winning their first-ever state championship in baseball last season in Class 3A.
    Both Vail and Standlee will be a part of a Raider team trying to win state again — this time in Class 4A.
    Standlee was all-everything last year as a pitcher, taking all-CNC first team and All-State first team honors, as well as an all-county nod from the Morning Sun.
    The postseason honors were well deserved, as Standlee finished with an ERA under 1.0 (.83 ERA). His record was 7-1, and he struck out 65 batters in 42 innings, allowing a batting average against of .171.
    “I was looking forward to signing,” Standlee said. “It was always one of the things I wanted to do to go on to the next level. Having a good year helped out.”
    Don’t think just because Standlee was a good pitcher that was all he could do. He also did damage behind the plate.
    The shortstop hit .470 with 39 hits and 31 RBI in his state-winning junior season. He also had eight doubles and three triples, one of which came in the state tournament against then-unbeaten Humboldt.
    He said the decision to sign with PSU was clear from the start.
    “Sitting down with [PSU] Coach [Matt] Murray, it was an easy decision. I was excited. My family and friends are all close,” Standlee said.
    Standlee might have some competition in the statistics category with fellow incoming Gorilla Vail.
    Vail received all-county and second team all-CNC nods for his junior season, but Vail seemingly matched Standlee statistic for statistic.
    Vail went 6-1 to Standlee’s 7-1, and had a 0.62 ERA to Standlee’s 0.83. Vail only struck out 52, but pitched in more innings, 45, than Standlee. Opponents hit .174 against Vail compared to .171 for Standlee.
    While there are already two who claim Frontenac on the Pittsburg State roster (redshirt freshman Buster Reddick and junior catcher/DH Ryan Reddick), Vail said it will be nice to have someone else on the team who has gone through similar experiences.
    “It always helps going with someone you’ve played your whole life with,” Vail said. “It helps a lot. It’s a confidence kind of thing... I’ve always wanted to play college baseball. I’m just really excited.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Sullivan said he’s lucky to have the two for one more baseball season, and that he couldn’t be prouder of the success the two have had.
    “I think if they continue putting in the work and developing, the sky’s the limit. They bring a lot as hitters and they’re just as big on the mound. They’re major contributors to our team,” Sullivan said. “...They’re a lot of fun to be around. Coach Murray is going to have a lot of fun coaching those guys.”
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