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High School Sports

High School Sports

Great at state: Kukuk, FSHS dominate Grizzlies, 11-0

A happy bunch of Free State baseball players leaves the field after an 11-0 victory over Wichita Northwest. FSHS claimed a run-rule-shortened victory at the state tournament Friday at Hoglund Ballpark.

A happy bunch of Free State baseball players leaves the field after an 11-0 victory over Wichita Northwest. FSHS claimed a run-rule-shortened victory at the state tournament Friday at Hoglund Ballpark.

May 29, 2010

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Free State baseball shuts out Wichita Northwest

The Firebirds run-ruled Northwest 11-0 in five innings in their first game in the state tournament. Enlarge video

From Michael Lisher’s view at first base, playing defense wasn’t too much of a challenge Friday night at Hoglund Ballpark. Just sit back, relax and enjoy Cody Kukuk’s scintillating pitching performance.

“It was pretty easy to play the field with him on the mound,” Lisher, a Free State High senior, said with a smile.

Kukuk struck out 12 batters and allowed only one hit in Free State’s 11-0, five-inning victory over Wichita Northwest in the first round of the Class 6A state baseball tournament.

“I was going to go straight at them,” Kukuk, a junior, said. “See if they could hit it. If they can’t, we’d keep doing what we were doing. If they can, we’d have to adjust.”

Scratch that part about adjusting.

Coming into Friday, Wichita Northwest (18-5) had six hitters sporting an average of .400 or better. The Grizzlies only put three baseballs into play against the flame-throwing Kukuk, who reached 94 mph on the radar gun.

“That’s Cody,” Free State coach Mike Hill said. “He was exceptional. He’s going through a transition. He’s a really good pitcher right now. But he’s trying to become a great pitcher. And that’s a big leap to make. It’s beginning to happen. What the difference for him will be is command.”

Kukuk did allow five walks and threw 114 pitches in the run-rule-shortened, complete-game outing. His pitch count hit 79 after just three frames.

“I walked a few too many people, but for the most part, I did pretty well,” Kukuk said. “And I got the shutout, so that feels good.”

Kukuk took a no-hitter into the fourth inning, but Wichita Northwest’s Jacob Jones spoiled the no-hit bid with a single to right field. That summed up the offensive highlights for the Grizzlies.

“Cody was pretty magnificent tonight,” Lisher said. “When he gets those fastballs across there, he’s pretty tough to hit, with his breaking stuff. He was really mixing up pitches (fastball, slider, changeup) well. It’s always pretty good when he’s on the mound because we know he can get the job done.”

Kukuk improved to 9-0.

Free State (19-4) will face Maize (21-2) at 12:30 p.m. today at Hoglund Ballpark in the state semifinals. Win that, and the Firebirds would play in their third state championship game in the last seven years (they lost in 2004, won in 2006) at 5:30 p.m. later today.

The third-place game is slated for 3 p.m.

Will Kukuk, who said his arm felt great after Friday, have a chance to see the mound again this season? It’s unlikely.

“I certainly don’t anticipate that,” Hill said. “We want to be careful with him and not put him in a situation where he’s going to get hurt. I wouldn’t anticipate using him, but you never know.”

That leaves Free State with a choice between junior Colin Toalson, senior Ryan Scott, sophomore JD Prochaska or senior Rob Wagner. Hill wouldn’t name a starting pitcher after Friday’s game.

The Firebirds didn’t have trouble chasing Wichita Northwest senior Ethan Chadick, an all-state pitcher who made it through only two-thirds of an inning.

Free State jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first inning. Tim Lewis blasted a triple that scored Connor Stremel and Bo Schneider. Toalson singled to score Lewis and Adam Petz singled to score Toalson.

The Firebirds iced the game with seven runs in the third frame. Six Free State batters produced RBIs.

“I think we were more aggressive tonight,” said Lisher, who went 2-for-2 with an RBI. “We were getting fastballs early in the count. In the past, we’ve sat back and watched them go by, (only to) get breaking balls later on and miss. This time, we were attacking the fastball, and we all hit them pretty well.”

Comments

Clickker 3 years, 10 months ago

Im not sure what the fact is. His mom basically said in a previous blog, how he transfered in from the McClouth district, and it sounded like it was above board. I would have wanted to get to Lawrence too if I had to play in McClouth. No one made a stink when Chanty Caron basically commuted from Ottawa ( which is south of 15th btw) to go to FS. However, there are NUMEROUS cases of kids really living south of 15th and going to FS. This will become more apparent when the current crop of 8th graders hit the High Schools next year. Keep your eyes open.

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sierraclub 3 years, 10 months ago

Not bitter, just making a fact!!!! Just a fact that the LJWorld will not print. Not attacking a kid, just making a fact!!!!! Gee...... get a life!!!!!!

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monkeyspunk 3 years, 10 months ago

94MPH! Wow. And from the left side. Pro scouts have to be lining up to talk to this kid.

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WilburM 3 years, 10 months ago

Jeez, people move, in and out. What a revelation. Get a grip.

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thebigspoon 3 years, 10 months ago

The Prochaska kid is a out of district transfer too...

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hail2oldku 3 years, 10 months ago

Why so bitter sierra? Everyone knows that Cody is an out of district transfer. Has been since BEFORE high school. No apartment is needed when you do it on the up and up. So sad to see someone hiding behind an anonymous screen name attacking a 17 year-old kid.

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sierraclub 3 years, 10 months ago

So glad that Freestate was able to get an out of town player a place to play!!! But, I wonder, where exactly is his 'apartment'?

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