Given its run to the 2009 Class 6A state championship, Lawrence High’s baseball team probably wasn’t going to sneak up on many opponents heading into the 2010 season.
But any hopes the Lions might have fostered about flying — at least occasionally — under the radar were promptly dashed with the release this week of Baseball America’s national high school baseball preseason poll, which tapped LHS No. 33 nationally following a 21-4 ’09 campaign.
“It’s something to be very proud of,” said LHS coach Brad Stoll, whose team was ranked 27th in the publication’s postseason poll last year. “But if anything, it’s going to make teams come at you a little bit harder.”
Still, it’s not every day that a team from Lawrence warrants a national ranking.
Only one other Kansas team — Maize, a 6A semifinalist in 2009 and the No. 41 team —earned mention in the publication’s preseason top 50, and the Midwest as a whole, where long winters often limit outdoor training, was scantily represented.
Nine of the top 25 schools in the poll are located in the more baseball-conducive states of California, Florida or Texas, and none are from nearby Missouri or Nebraska.
“That kind of stuff is pretty amazing,” Stoll said. “Especially for teams in this part of the country, with the (small) number of games we play in a season.”
For the time being, however, team members aren’t putting too much stock into the preseason ranking, opting instead to prepare the way they always have and let the polls work themselves out following the season.
“We try not to pay too much attention to that,” said shortstop Landon Mosley, a contributor on the ’09 title team. “We know how we play, and we know where we’re at, so we don’t worry about that and just go out and play our game.”