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Morning Sun
  • Manhattan bound: Frontenac returns a better, more mature baseball team

  • The Frontenac Raiders, a predominantly young baseball team with sophomores and freshmen last year, caught fire at the right time of the season and parlayed that fire into a third-place finish at the Class 3A state tournament in Manhattan.

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  • The Frontenac Raiders, a predominantly young baseball team with sophomores and freshmen last year, caught fire at the right time of the season and parlayed that fire into a third-place finish at the Class 3A state tournament in Manhattan.
    A year later, Frontenac enters Manhattan with a 21-2 record, earning both Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League and regional titles.
    Frontenac plays Silver Lake (17-6) 1:30 p.m. today at Tointon Family Stadium, a rematch of teams which met in the semifinals last year. Silver Lake held a 5-2 lead on Frontenac before a six-run sixth inning propelled the Eagles to a 11-2 rout en route to a state championship.
    “It’s an equal matchup,” Frontenac head coach Bill Sullivan said on Thursday. “They lost a good class last year. They are the defending state champions. They play in a tough league like we do. We are better than we were last year. Our league was so competitive this year that it should prepare us.”
    The Eagles have won 15 state baseball titles in program history and have made 20 trips in 21 years. Seven of their 15 titles have been since 1996.
    Key players this year include Tyler Brown (7-1, 1.29 ERA; .338, 23 RBI), Dailin Kruger (.385, 25 runs), Dylan Holthaus (.357), Matt Athon (19 RBI) and Evan Burdiek (2.79 ERA).
    Silver Lake plays in the Mid-East League with fellow Class 3A state qualifier Rock Creek (21-2), Rossville, St. Marys, Riley County and Wabaunsee.
    Pitching, more pitching and even more pitching describes Frontenac — Matt Standlee, Brett Macary, Ross Edge and Nick Zafuta all pitched last year and then came in Pittsburg transfer Blake Vail and reluctant pitcher Bryce Burdette, as well as Christian Sharp, Jake Teats and Caleb Spangler, to give Frontenac a depth of quality arms crucial in baseball.
    The Raiders have compiled a team ERA of 1.95 — 31 earned runs and 43 total runs allowed in 143.0 innings pitched.
    Standlee, a flamethrower, owns a 6-1 record with a team-high 59 strikeouts in 37.0 innings pitched. He’s surrendered three earned runs all season and his 0.57 ERA ranks behind Vail and Burdette among pitchers having at least 10 innings, all three pitchers below 1.00 ERA.
    Vail, predominantly the first game of a doubleheader starter, holds a 5-1 mark in his first season in a Raiders uniform. He leads Frontenac with 38 innings pitched and his 0.37 ERA, and he ranks second with 46 strikeouts.
    Burdette, a high-quality relief pitcher, owns a 2-0 record, one save and 0.54 ERA in only five appearances — striking out 21, walking three in 13.0 innings.
    Standlee, Vail, Zafuta, Burdette, Edge and Macary all have at least two wins.
    Offensively, the Raiders are particularly strong at the top of their order — leadoff man Burdette, No. 2 Bryan Wade, No. 3 Macary, cleanup man Vail and No. 5 Standlee.
    All five have played every game this season and have combined for 105 RBI and 111 runs scored — team totals are 146 RBI and 177 runs scored.
    Page 2 of 2 - Standlee hits .467 on the season with no home runs, eight doubles, two triples and 27 RBI. He leads Frontenac in average, hits (35), doubles and RBI.
    Wade ranks second in hitting at .451, second in hits with 32 and second in RBI with 22. The junior catcher leads Frontenac with nine stolen bases and a .534 on-base percentage.
    Vail hits .382 with five doubles, three triples and 18 RBI.
    Burdette ranks fourth in average (.362), first in runs scored (30), fourth in hits (25), third in singles (20), tied for second in doubles (5), tied for third in RBI (19) and second in stolen bases (8).
    Macary hit the only two Frontenac home runs of the season and his stats include a .338 average, five doubles, 19 RBI and three stolen bases.
    Key contributors for the Raiders include first baseman Blake Barto, second baseman Edge, third baseman Zafuta, left fielder Avery Coronado and right fielder Gus Brunetti.
    The Raiders have bonded together under some difficult circumstances — the deaths of two players’ mothers, Virginia Macary and Tammy Edge. Edge died Sunday morning and funeral services were held Thursday morning. Macary passed away in December.
    “We have stickers on our helmets with their initials on them,” Sullivan said. “We’ve been playing with heavy hearts all year. Virginia and Tammy, two great mothers who were like mothers to the entire team. I can’t say enough of how proud I am of these young men. They exemplify the word team. They are truly like a group of brothers. It’s just been amazing what these guys have done for each other. Their parents should be just as proud of them as I am.”
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