Lawrence's Raiders are hotter than Atlanta.
Starting tonight, the American Legion baseball team with a 12-game winning streak finds out if it's hotter than the other four teams in the zone tournament at Kansas City's Eisenhower Field.
The third-seeded Raiders (30-11) open at 6:30 p.m. against No. 2 Olathe East (29-8) in the double-elimination tournament. The zone winner advances to state on Aug. 1-5 in Newton.
"The first season is over; the second season starts now with everybody at 0-0," Raiders' coach Lee Ice said. "I've been really proud of the performances of the kids at this point."
The KC zone is stacked with four of the five teams owning better than .500 records.
No. 4 KC 83-346 (27-14) and No. 5 Topeka 74 (15-20) played Tuesday night. The winner of that game will play No. 1 Topeka 400 (35-9) tonight.
The Raiders are batting .333 as a team. Outfielder Aaron Flory (.410, eight home runs and 47 RBIs) and first baseman Andy Johnston (.404, five homers, 37 RBIs) lead the squad.
"We've acutally hit well all season," Ice said. "Pitching and defense have come on late, which I always feel wins ballgames. We've had tremendous efforts on the mound, made good plays behind them and had timely hitting."
Ryan Goodwin, batting .333, is the scheduled starting pitcher tonight. He has a 7-1 record with a 2.20 earned run average.
"He's not overpowering, but he gives us the best chance to win day in and day out," Ice said.
The Raiders haven't qualified for state since 1992.
The state champion has come from Lawrence's zone the past three years.