Morning Sun
  • Frontenac baseball wins school's first-ever state championship

  • The Frontenac Raiders completed a historical season Saturday evening with a 12-2 win over the Wellsville Eagles in the state championship game at Tointon Family Stadium.

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  • The Frontenac Raiders completed a historical season Saturday evening with a 12-2 win over the Wellsville Eagles in the state championship game at Tointon Family Stadium.

    Frontenac head coach Bill Sullivan, junior outfielder and pitcher Blake Vail and junior shortstop and pitcher Matt Standlee talked about their feelings after the game amidst the celebration of the school's first-ever state championship in baseball.

    "Words can't even describe it," Sullivan said. "It's what you go out and play the game for. It's a tough road to get here and for all the adversity they faced this year, just to keep going and going and going nonstop, words can't describe it. I don't even know if it's sunk in yet. It's a great feeling."

    "The feeling is just indescribable," Vail said. "It feels great to be here. I'm so glad I came over here. I've played with them my whole life, most of them at least. Coming over here just carried on from when we were young. It started at 10 years old for me and carried on from there."

    "It feels good to be a state champion," Standlee said. "But all I wanted to do was come in and throw strikes, just have fun and play loose.

    "We came in confident because we went to state last year and we had a lot of our starters coming back. We felt good about this year and we just wanted to get back to state."

    Wellsville jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning and Wellsville right fielder Shelton Breithaupt denied Frontenac its first run on a strike from right to the plate that beat Bryce Burdette to the plate. Wellsville catcher Mitchell Huffman held on after the collision at the plate.

    "They found themselves in a little bit of a hole early on," Sullivan said. "We've been in that situation before during league play, during the season, and we knew that we were a good enough team, we're going to hit the ball and we'll get ourselves out of that hole. We hit the ball great all tournament and that was the key today. I thought we beat a very good Wellsville team."

    Frontenac pieced together one in the second, three in the third, six in the fourth and two in the fifth. Blake Barto drove in two with a single in the third, Ross Edge had RBI singles in the fourth and fifth, Bryan Wade hit a two-run single in the fourth and Gus Brunetti singled home the final run in the fifth. Wellsville committed four errors to aid the Frontenac cause.

    Page 2 of 3 - Vail displayed a new wrinkle in his offensive repertoire Saturday evening.

    "It was the first time I bunted all year," Vail said. "It's the state championship game and it's the first time I've bunted all year. Practice helps. I was just trying to push it where they're not going to be. I knew their formation of where they're going to go."

    Standlee buckled down on the mound after that shaky first inning, allowing one more Wellsville hit and retiring Wellsville 1-2-3 the last four innings.

    Frontenac ends its season 24-2.

    Frontenac 5, Humboldt 1

    Frontenac waited little time for going on the offensive against top seed Humboldt (birthplace of Walter "Big Train" Johnson), scoring three runs on four hits and one costly three-base error by Humboldt center fielder Caleb Vanatta in the first.

    "We talked about that," Sullivan said. "We've got to jump out fast and we want to put pressure on them. That's a good team. They were 24-0 coming in and we want to put some pressure on them, pressure on the bases and everything. I thought we accomplished that. I thought we got them a little uncomfortable for a while."

    Burdette led off the game with a walk and then advanced into scoring position with a steal of second base. Brett Macary singled in Burdette, then stole on Humboldt pitcher Nathan Whitcomb and catcher Alex Murrow. With two outs and Macary on his way home on a Matt Standlee RBI single to center, Vanatta misplayed the hard-hit ball and it rolled deep enough into center that Standlee made it home without a play at the plate.

    Standlee continued his workout on the bases in the third when he smashed a triple over the outstretched glove of the Humboldt right fielder. This hit scored Blake Vail and Standlee then scored on another costly error by Humboldt.

    "Matt swung it well," Sullivan said. "I think up-and-down the lineup we came out on fire and swung it well. I think we laid back a little bit in the middle of the game and we lost a little bit of our intensity and our approach at the plate wasn't as good. But we got it back and we'll be fine."

    Page 3 of 3 - Starting pitcher Macary and Burdette combined to allow one run on two hits. Burdette entered in the sixth and faced the minimum of six batters over two innings. He walked Humboldt designated hitter Austin Beeman to start the seventh but a double play left Humboldt down to its last out. Burdette induced No. 9 hitter, freshman second baseman Kason Siemens, to ground one back to the pitcher and Burdette threw onto first cleanly to advance Frontenac into the state title game and give Humboldt its first loss of the season.

    Frontenac and the double play became new best friends during the first two days of the state tournament. The Raiders derailed potential Cub rallies in the third, fourth and seventh innings by turning double plays — 6-4-3 in the third, 6-3 in the fourth and 6-4-3 in the seventh. Frontenac turned five double plays after two games.

    "Oh my gosh," Sullivan said. "I think we only turned a couple all year and I'm not sure what we've turned in this tournament . . . maybe five. We work on it all the time. We know it's there but our pitchers have done a good job of getting us groundballs in any kind of situation."

    Class 3A State Tournament (Manhattan)

    Championship Game

    Frontenac 12, Wellsville 2 (5 innings)

    WE 200 00 — 2 3 4

    FHS 013 62 — 12 12 0

    Shamus Kearney, Nolan Rush (4) and Mitchell Huffman. Matt Standlee and Bryan Wade. WP: Standlee. LP: Kearney. SB: Shane Hillman, Cole Gardner; Wade. CS: Brett Osbern. SH: Blake Barto. HBP: Gus Brunetti. A: Sheldon Breithaupt. LOB: WE 1, FHS 7.

    Semifinal No. 1

    Frontenac 5, Humboldt 1

    FHS 302 000 0 — 5 8 2

    HUM 000 010 0 — 1 2 3

    Brett Macary, Bryce Burdette (6) and Bryan Wade. Nathan Whitcomb and Alex Murrow. WP: Macary. LP: Whitcomb. SV: Burdette. 3B: Matt Standlee. HBP: Wade. SH: Nick Zafuta; Kason Siemens. SB: Ethan Powell 2, Blake Vail, Macary, Burdette; Hunter Murrow. LOB: FHS 9, HUM 5.

    Semifinal No. 2

    Wellsville 8, Sacred Heart 2

    WE 130 030 1 — 8 9 2

    SH 000 110 0 — 2 5 2

    WP: Shane Hillman. LP: Blake Jones. 2B: Jacob Brown, Mitchell Huffman, Shane Hillman. SB: Brett Osbern 2, Nolan Rush 2, Damon Gormley. LOB: WE 9, SH 12.

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