Sometimes, playing teams that you aren’t familiar with can be a good thing.

Sometimes, playing teams that you aren’t familiar with can be a good thing.
For Winfield Post 10 (17-11) baseball coach Kerry Bailey and Manhattan Manko 17ers (28-12) coach Luke Snyder, neither of them seem to mind that they have drawn each other in the first round of the Kansas AAA American Legion State tournament at 11 a.m. today at JayCee Ballpark.
“It makes it kind of fun,” said Snyder, who is in his first year coaching Manhattan. “You travel around all summer playing teams that you don’t know and playing new teams are fun.”
While Snyder does have state tournament experience after coaching Manhattan’s A team to three straight state titles, Bailey is a relative newcomer to the state tournament.
So is Winfield for that matter. They have not been to the state tournament since winning it in 1972 — when Bailey was a bat boy for the team.
“I don’t think there is any pressure,” Bailey said. “I think we expected to be there and the pressure is over because the pressure was to get to that point.
“Our approach will be to play our game and do the things that we know we are good at. We are going to put our pitching staff against our opponents and use that as our leverage point.”
Both said that it will be the pitching that will be the main factor in their matchup.
For Winfield, they bring Sedan High School junior Garrett Bane — who pitched all nine innings of Winfield’s zone championship game — as well as Cowley College transfer Derek Brogan.
“We are nine-deep in pitching and they are capable in starting but we will have four main starters,” Bailey said.
Manhattan will rely on Michael McDiffett, a pitcher at Cloud County Community College, to be their main ace.
“At times, this summer, we have been very good but there have been stretches where we have struggled on the mound,” Snyder said. “Lately, we have been consistent and we have gotten good starts from our pitchers.”
But, it still does not take away from the fact that neither coach knows much of anything about the other team.
“We’ve looked for them on the Internet but we don’t know much about them,” Snyder said. “We just hope we can continue having good defense and good pitching starting tomorrow.”
While neither coach minds who they play, it still raises a concern for Bailey.
“Right now, if we had a concern, it would be that we’re going to see teams that we haven’t seen,” Bailey said. “They may pitch us differently than what we have seen and that could be an advantage because they could stick to a standard.
“We have to stay focused on our game and we can’t let now knowing our opponents get to us.”
Manhattan and Winfield will open the tournament at 11 a.m. today at JayCee Ballpark.

Matthew Clark can be reached at or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140. Follow Morning Sun sports at