Archive for Sunday, April 12, 2009

Firebirds stifle Lions, 5-2

Junior righty Scott pitches FSHS baseball past city rival

Free State's Connor Stremel, center, celebrates with teammate Ryan Scott after Scott scored a run during the fourth inning Saturday, April 11, 2009.

Free State's Connor Stremel, center, celebrates with teammate Ryan Scott after Scott scored a run during the fourth inning Saturday, April 11, 2009.

April 12, 2009


Free State beats LHS in city showdown

Free State High School hosted a city showdown on Saturday against Lawrence High. The Firebirds beat the Lions, 5-2. Enlarge video

For years, Free State High’s baseball team has had its pitchers operate with one motto in mind: The other team hits to your pitching, you don’t pitch to their hitting.

Saturday at FSHS, Firebirds junior right-hander Ryan Scott executed that game plan to perfection, pitching six strong innings in a 5-2 victory against Lawrence High.

“You have to give the Scott kid credit,” LHS coach Brad Stoll said. “He kept us in check all day and was really effective. Our guys just could not get any rhythm.”

Not bad for a guy who did not actually know he would get the start until a few hours before game time.

“I wasn’t even sure if I was going to pitch,” Scott said. “My arm had been sore all week. But once I started throwing before the game, I knew it was OK, and I knew I could pitch.”

But did he know that he would last into the seventh inning, strike out seven Lions and give up just two runs on four hits?

“Not at all,” he said.

Because of the upcoming River City Baseball Festival, Free State coach Mike Hill had intended to let Scott throw two, maybe three, innings. But just as he has done all season, Scott pitched fast, worked from ahead in the count and faced very few batters.

“We genuinely went into today thinking we’d let him go a couple of innings and then work some other arms in there,” Hill said. “But Ryan was outstanding. The key again was that his pitch count was extraordinarily low.”

Before giving way to sophomore Cody Kukuk in the top of the seventh inning, Scott threw just 60 pitches. A big reason for the low count was the defense played behind him, particularly by shortstop Colin Toalson.

Time and again, Scott coerced the LHS batters to roll ground balls Toalson’s way. Each time the tall and talented shortstop made a fundamentally sound play to help keep the Firebirds in front.

“We’ve got a pretty good legacy of shortstops here, some big-time baseball players,” Hill said. “And I think Colin feels a little of the responsibility to live up to that. He’s got great range, a very quick release, and he’s been outstanding for us.”

Free State (7-0) broke open a nice pitching duel between Scott and LHS starter Andy Urban with a four-run fourth inning. The Firebirds got RBIs from Scott, Toalson and Camren Torneden in the inning and capitalized on two singles, two hit batters and a walk to build their lead.

“That’s why they won the game today,” Stoll said. “They took advantage of our mistakes and made us pay for them.”

Trailing 5-0 heading into the top of the sixth, the Lions (4-3) attempted to stage a rally. Senior Tyler Bailey led off the inning with a home run to left field that immediately injected life into the struggling LHS offense. Jack Bush then smacked a single, and Aaron Rea reached on an error, putting the Lions in business with runners on first and second and no outs.

That’s when Scott and Toalson buckeled down. Scott struck out LHS’s Devin Forio for the first out of the inning and then got Clint Pinnick to roll into a double play to end the inning.

But not before a little excitement.

Toalson’s throw pulled first baseman Kukuk off the bag, but after leaping to make the catch, Kukuk went for the tag in one motion. The home-plate umpire ruled that Kukuk connected and called Pinnick out. Stoll saw it otherwise and immediately rushed home to argue the call. After a heated exchange in which Stoll continually told the umpire that he missed the call, the LHS coach was tossed from the game.

An inning later, LHS junior Albert Minnis left the game after injuring his right hand while sliding into third base after a leadoff triple. The extent of Minnis’ injury was not immediately known.

“This one hurts,” Stoll said. “And the Easter egg hunt on Sunday might not be as much fun for these kids after this. But we’ve got 14 guaranteed games left, and we’ll come back from this.”

Hill, who said he continues to marvel at the way his young ballclub plays with such composure, said he was extremely proud of his team for knocking off a very talented LHS group.

“This was certainly not the final exam,” Hill said. “But we passed this test with flying colors.”


dkbrown2006 8 years, 8 months ago

Free State youre looking good, shoot for the title once again. Good luck.

mainah 8 years, 8 months ago

Typical Brad Stoll. He's been acting this way for years now, what an example he sets. And he works with special needs kids! Gives the FS parents something to be thankful for.

colorsandhues 8 years, 8 months ago

You obviously have never seen Brad Stoll outside of a baseball game. Maybe he gets a little heated and passionate in the game, but you've never seen a man with more patience when he's working with his special needs kids. He's absolutely brilliant with the little guys and would do anything in the world for any one of them. Complain about his coaching if you want, but don't talk about what you don't know when it comes to his day job. I'm a Brad fan, and I count myself blessed to work with him.

UnbiasedLionsfan 8 years, 8 months ago

Your perspective of what happened at Saturday's game depends upon what side of the fence that you were sitting. Let's give kudos to both A.D.s and coaches for having the foresight to hold the game on Saturday rather than waiting until today for most likely what would have been another rainout. I don't believe anyone, in spite of their loyalties, wished for any injuries to happen - and unfortunately our LHS newcomer was the unlucky one. Let's all get on the same bandwagon and wish Albert Minnes a speedy recovery.

dougmarshall 8 years, 8 months ago

I couldn't hear what Stoll said to the umpire, but it didn't seem too over the top. It seems to me the umpire pulled the trigger a little too soon.

mainah 8 years, 8 months ago

colorsandhues: I have seen he and his friends smash stuff because of losing games as well as picking on kids just because he could. I have known him for over 20 years. The umpire probably knew how out of hand things could get from past experiences so squelched it!

ChestyJHawk 8 years, 8 months ago

There's absolutely nothing wrong with sticking up for your team when an umpire doesn't do his job and it negatively affects your squad. That's what every player wants to see his coach do. It takes some onions to go out and show some emotion and stick up for your kids, it's certainly not as easy as getting online and taking shots at someone. I've seen Brad work with top notch athletes and special needs students alike and he's awesome in both situations. Guy is a hell of a coach, a great teacher and a solid friend.

colorsandhues 8 years, 8 months ago

mainah: I have never seen him as a coach, and so I don't pretend to know what he's like in that environment, though I highly doubt he would pick on someone just to be mean. Besides that, didn't he win Coach of the Year last year? He must not be too awful to have been given such an honor. Just saying.... I know him very well in his day job, and I am 100% confident in my belief that he is an amazing teacher. He puts the kids first and is one of the most compassionate people I know. There is nothing but love in his eyes for the kids he works with. I also know this of him: if someone is in trouble, he will be the very first person to offer help. I'm so sad that you have such a poor view of him because comments left on here can influence a lot of people. Leave his day job and personal life out of your comments-- he's a great person and an incredible resource for our special kids and does not deserve such treatment.

Clickker 8 years, 8 months ago

Any news on Minnes injury?

Was it related to this particular play?

lhsalum 8 years, 8 months ago

Mainah: I have had played baseball my whole life and I have played with some very good coaches. Coaches that have played at the collegiate level and coaches that have played at the professional level. I have also had the privilege to play under Brad Stoll. Brad has been the best coach I have had. If you are criticizing him for getting thrown out of a game that is absolutely ridiculous. A coach has every right to stand up for his team. I have also played on a team where a coach does not stand up for his players. I never did respect that coach. I have also had the privilege to swim with the handicap kids that Brad teaches. Every single one of these kids rave about him. You should see the smiles on their faces when he walks through that door every day. If you want to say that Brad is a bad coach that is fine and dandy but never cut the man down for what he does for those handicapped children.

Anyway Brad Stoll is a heck of a coach just look at the last two years he has coached at Lawrence High. The 2007 season, who had more talent Free State or LHS? Free State did, but LHS beat Free State to go to the state tournament. If that’s not enough look at the 2008 season. We know Free State had a lot more talent than LHS then. But, again LHS beats Free State, but this time as the last seed in the state tournament. Why did LHS beat Free State in those occasions? I would have to say coaching, and I believe a lot of people around the state that know anything about baseball would agree with me.

mainah 8 years, 8 months ago

Colorsandhues: quote - Leave his day job and personal life out of your comments. What else is there? lhsalum: I'm not criticizing him for being tossed, coaches get tossed everyday. but since you so ademantly defended him I'll defend my comment. When I read these articles it brings back bad memories of him publicly degrading kids on football and baseball fields, smashing 2nd place trophies with baseball bats, etc. He had the chance to apologize and hasn't but we haven't forgot. Ask him and unless you were there to witness that, you wouldn't understand. I'm sorry but what happened, happened. "Fruit doesn't fall far from the tree!"

colorsandhues 8 years, 8 months ago

mainah: I meant that talking about things you don't like with his coaching is one thing... talking about his personal life and his day job (adaptive P.E.) is another.... And to quote you, what happened happened. I have no idea about that. But it looks to me as though there are a lot more people who think he's great than people who think he's lousy. I don't think there's anything anyone could tell me that would make me any less a fan after what I've witnessed him doing for his "kids"-- his baseball team is like a family and his kids with special needs absolutely light up when he enters a room. The relationships he forms with all of them are life-changing. So whether he was a bad sport a couple of times or not, my loyalty to him remains firm and I think the world is a better place with Brad Stoll than it would be without him.

lhsalum 8 years, 8 months ago

Really smashing second place trophies??? Cause im pretty sure when LHS got third the last two years he was pretty darn supportive of his players. And anyway second place means nothing at Lawrence High. But Free Staters wouldnt know with their 2 State championships, But hey they won the Sunflower league last year in baseball. Lets hang a banner for that

mainah 8 years, 8 months ago

After a heated exchange in which Stoll continually told the umpire that he missed the call, the LHS coach was tossed from the game.

Firebirds stifle Lions, 5-2

mainah 8 years, 8 months ago

After a heated exchange in which Stoll continually told the umpire that he missed the call, the LHS coach was tossed from the game.

Firebirds stifle Lions, 5-2

Commenting has been disabled for this item.