High School Sports

High School Sports

FSHS baseball still winless

March 30, 2012


In search of anything to get the season going in its direction, victories keep evading Free State High’s baseball team.

With its latest loss coming Thursday at home, 4-1, to Olathe East, FSHS dropped to 0-5.

The disappointing start hasn’t sucked the life out of the players, though. Sophomore third baseman Cameron Pope said the Firebirds are determined to stay positive despite the slump, and he even pointed to another team from Lawrence that could provide some inspiration.

“The Jayhawks started off bad, and look where they’re at right now,” Pope said of Kansas University’s men’s basketball team, playing in the Final Four this weekend. “We hope to do the same thing they’re doing.”

While “bad” in KU basketball terms apparently means beginning the season 3-2, with losses to Kentucky and Duke, Free State senior first baseman Montana Samuels said he and his teammates are focusing on the good things they’re doing each time they’re competing on the diamond.

“I think we’re making strides in the right direction,” Samuels said following the loss to O-East. “It’s always one or two big innings early in the game that we need to take care of, and once we eliminate that, I think we’re getting a lot closer.”

The two innings that proved to be the difference for the Hawks (2-1) were the second and third, against FSHS starting pitcher JD Prochaska. OEHS turned three hits and a hit batter into a pair of runs in the top of the second and plated two more the next inning with a two-run home run to left field by East senior Austin Sanders, who also pitched a complete game, allowing only five Free State hits.

Though the wind was blowing toward left field all evening, Samuels said Sanders’ opposite-field shot didn’t need any assistance.

“He got a pretty good piece of it, regardless,” the FSHS senior said. “That home run was legit. I won’t take anything away from him on that one.”

At that point, down 4-0, the Firebirds hadn’t even produced a hit. A double to the left-field gap from sophomore Ryan Cantrell and a base hit by sophomore Joe Dineen changed that in the bottom of the third, but it wasn’t until two innings later that Free State finally crossed the plate.

Junior catcher Lee McMahon singled to lead off the bottom of the fifth, and courtesy runner Tristan Garber scored on a single to center by Pope, who went 2-for-3.

Firebirds coach Mike Hill said his team’s biggest challenge right now is piecing together seven innings of sound baseball.

“There’s facets of our game that are showing signs of improvement,” Hill said, pointing to his team’s defense against O-East.

Following the Hawks’ hot start, the Firebirds infield made one error — in the fifth inning, as it tried to turn a double play — but it didn’t cost FSHS a run.

Said Pope: “We’ve had some one- or zero-run innings toward the end of games, and that’s been good. It’s just the beginning of the game where we give up the big ones.”

Prochaska, who took the loss, and relievers Jacob Caldwell and Sam Hearnen held O-East scoreless the final four innings. Hearnen struck out two while facing just five batters.

Hill has been impressed with how the team hasn’t abandoned hope, in spite of its struggles to get in the win column.

“It’s not easy to go to the park and get beat, especially when you’re in a program that’s so used to winning,” the 15th-year FSHS coach said. “It’s a little shock to the culture, so to speak.”

The Firebirds’ next chance to get on track comes at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, with a home game against Shawnee Mission South.


FireTheGuy 6 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Clickker 6 years, 2 months ago

At least there is some effort on the west side. They may not have talent and are not the best coached, but at least they are trying.

FireTheGuy 6 years, 2 months ago

OMG. Anything negative the Journal World deletes. 1st amendment Dennis!!

DennisAnderson 6 years, 2 months ago

Your comment being deleted is not an issue of the First Amendment or free speech. When a commenter creates an account on our company's websites, he or she agrees to our Terms of Service. The TOS does not allow a commenter to spread rumors or belittle someone. If a commenter doesn't follow the rules, the comment will be removed. Regards. Dennis Anderson Managing Editor

DennisAnderson 6 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

dizthewiz 6 years, 2 months ago

Listen 'FireTheGuy'......just because your kids aren't at the level they need to be to play varsity baseball at Free State you can't go around and say things that are completely untrue. The Free State program has been one of the best in the state and in the nation for many years. You made a comment 'laughing stock of the league'....really????? How uninformed are you?? We get it, you don't like the coach, but Free State is well coached. They may be lacking some positions now but will recover either this year or next. Remember what they lost from last year. Thank you Dennis for removing his posts.

FireTheGuy 6 years, 2 months ago

dizthewiz. You have no idea. There is a state championship baseball team walking the halls at Free State but refuse to play for such a pathetic program. Don't take my word. Just ask some folks whose kids go or have gone to Free State. In response to your comment "just because your kids aren't at the level they need to be to play varsity baseball at Free State" You are so correct. They passed that when they were 10 years old.

dizthewiz 6 years, 2 months ago

My son actually DID go to Free State and played there. Lawrence does not have the talent period. The teams in the Lawrence summer program do not play at the level of the summer teams in Topeka OR Kansas City. Unless your kids played somewhere other than Lawrence, I have to laugh. I and DO know who you are......

FireTheGuy 6 years, 2 months ago

I agree. My son also did go to Free State. Lawrence does not have the talent playing for the high schools and private, for personal profit, summer programs are at the parks and recreation levels. This is why a kid with any talent stays away from such programs. That's what we need to change. Keep the talent in Lawrence. It starts by having a quality spring program. I also know who you are ;)

dizthewiz 6 years, 2 months ago

No it doesn't START by having a quality spring program.....in just about every sport, the athlete needs to start earlier at a competitive level. I know that is hard for some but the 'coach pitch' and the machine pitch leagues are for the birds. The young players need 'quality' coaching from the beginning, NOT fathers who ONLY have their kids best interest at hand. AND you DO have to pay for that quality of coaching. THAT is where it starts. The KSHSAA is one of the reasons that spring baseball is such a farse. ONLY 20 games allowed and not being able to practice until March 1st is complete joke. Oklahoma teams have played 25 games by the time Kansas starts baseball.

bballwizard 6 years, 2 months ago

These are just highschool kids trying to play and have fun. The coaches are administrators and teachers and they do their best. they dont always play the right guy or sometimes kids make the team that should not but its the coaches decsion not yours. If you want change apply for the job.

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