For the Galena Bulldog baseball team, this trip to the Class 3A state baseball tournament can be looked at as a shot at redemption.

For the Galena Bulldog baseball team, this trip to the Class 3A state baseball tournament can be looked at as a shot at redemption.
Last year, the Bulldogs made it to the state tournament for the first time since 2005 but lost 5-4 to Salina Sacred Heart after taking a 4-0 lead late in the game.
Now the Bulldogs (20-3) are back in the Class 3A state tournament to face Hillsboro (18-5) at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Norvell Field in Manhattan, and that makes the redemption card an easy one to play for Galena head coach Ken Cook.
“We would like to think so,” Cook said. “We expected ourselves, to be back up there and do better than we did last year.
“We want to make up for last year but, it is a different year, different tournament and different teams so, you never know how it will turn out.”
As for Galena’s opponent, Hillsboro (18-5), they have just one senior and have not been in the state tournament since 2003.
“We are really young and we have just one senior,” said Trojans’ head coach Phil Oelke. “We are not overly athletic but, they are scrappy and we have been able to put together a little run here of late.”
Their lone senior is returning All-State shortstop Daniel Jost, who has signed to play next spring at Tabor College. Jost comes into the state tournament batting around .514 with four home runs and 34 runs scored.
After that, their next highest batter is junior center fielder/pitcher Jacob Edwards who is batting close to .385.
“The downside to not being there in a while is not knowing what to expect,” Oelke said. “I don’t know if that is a bad thing but, one thing we have in our favor is that no one expects us to win.
“We are not going to outscore these guys. We are going to have to play small ball.”
Galena will counter with senior pitcher Dakota Walker, who has racked up a 1.47 ERA and is 9-1 on the season.
“He has been really impressive,” Cook said. “He is the one that should have it on his shoulders and we have been riding him all year long.
“He beat Tanner Poppe [Girard], Colgan, Baxter twice and Caleb Clark from Riverton. We have had good opponents and he has beat them all.”
Walker will have to shoulder the responsibility of helping the Bulldogs get past the first round.
“That first game is very important because, if you don’t get Friday, there is no Saturday,” Cook said.
For Hillsboro, junior pitcher Tyler Ediger brings a 5-1 record and 1.90 ERA to the first round on Friday.
“We are not going to blow the ball by anyone, no matter who we put on the hill,” Oelke said. “He does get the ball in the strike zone and he mixes it up a little.”
Offensively, Galena is led by junior Troy Albright who is batting close to .500 on the season.
Even with the numbers, Cook said that the Bulldogs are confident, mainly because of the competition they have faced throughout the season.
“I feel like we are well-prepared because we have one of the toughest leagues in the state,” Cook said “We play those games to prepare us for the state tournament if we make it there.”

Matthew Clark can be reached at matthew.clark@morningsun.net or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140. Follow Morning Sun sports at twitter.com/mssports.

CLASS 3A BASEBALL
at Norvell Field, Manhattan
Friday, May 29
Silver Lake (1: 21-1) vs. Larned (8: 8-15), 11 a.m.
Medicine Lodge (4: 19-4) vs. Central Heights (5: 17-4), 1:30 p.m.
Doniphan County (2: 19-2) vs. Douglass (7: 15-6), 4 p.m.
Galena (3: 20-3) vs. Hillsboro (6: 18-5)
Saturday, May 30
Silver Lake-Larned winner vs. Medicine Lodge-Central winner, 10 a.m.
Doniphan County-Douglass winner vs. Galena-Hillsboro winner, 12:30 p.m.
Consolation, 3 p.m.
Championship, 5:30 p.m.