Preps notebook: Former Free State football coach Bob Lisher will take over Baldwin program

photo by: Mike Yoder

Free State head coach Bob Lisher is pictured Friday night during a 6A sub-state game vs. Haysville-Campus.

Bob Lisher’s phone hasn’t stopped buzzing since he announced Tuesday morning via his personal Twitter account that he was going to be a head coach in the area once again.

Lisher, who spent 22 years at the helm at Free State, will take over the Baldwin football program. Lisher accepted the job on April 3, but waited to make it public until the school board approved the hire.

“I haven’t been able to put the phone down,” Lisher said of the reaction to his announcement. “It’s hundreds of Twitter tags or whatever you call those things, text messages and phone calls. People are great. They are very supportive.”

“(They have had) very, very nice things to say,” Lisher added. “Hopefully they mean it, but it’s been a fun morning.”

But the decision to return to the local sports scene was a no-brainer for Lisher, who gets to be closer to home compared to the past two years.

After leaving Free State following the 2018 season, Lisher had spent the previous two years as an assistant. He was in Independence, Missouri at William Chrisman High School during the 2019 campaign before landing on the Shawnee Mission South staff for the 2020 season.

“I just had that itch to get back to being the head coach and making all the calls,” Lisher said. “When you are an assistant prior to being a head coach, it’s great. But once you become the head coach and go back to being an assistant, it’s a little bit difficult.”

Most of all, Lisher is looking forward to being able to build a program back up.

Baldwin, which is a Class 3A football program, has gone 5-21 over the last three seasons. The Bulldogs posted a 3-5 record during the 2020 campaign under David Bowen, marking their most wins in a single season since earning six victories in 2017.

“The main thing is just to build a program back to the way I want a program to be raised,” Lisher said. “Baldwin is a one high school town. The emphasis there is we need to get the numbers back up in football so that we can be competitive.”

Fortunately for Baldwin, Lisher is familiar with building a football team. He notably took over a brand-new FSHS program back in 1997, and eventually led the team to 18 playoff appearances.

Lisher, who went 148-85 during his FSHS tenure, led the Firebirds to five Sunflower League titles and seven Class 6A semifinal appearances. FSHS reached the Class 6A quarterfinals in each of his final seven seasons.

Lisher, who will also be teacher in the Physical Education department, will officially meet the Baldwin players on Wednesday.

“I’m always looking for new and different challenges,” Lisher said. “I was looking for something, and that opened up. I’m just very, very fortunate and excited to get it.”

photo by: Chance Parker

Free State senior pitcher Tatum Clopton pitches against Washburn Rural. Free State fell 3-2 Friday, April, 16, 2021 at the College Boulevard Activity Center.

FSHS softball wallops Mill Valley

In a game that was pushed up a day due to weather, Free State’s softball squad rolled to a 22-0 road win over Mill Valley on Monday.

The Firebirds (8-1) needed just three innings, scoring six in the first and six more in the third to bookend a 10-run outburst in the second frame. FSHS collected 15 hits as a team on its way to capturing its second straight win.

Free State’s offense was led by three-hit performances from Robin Todd and Leah Mueller. Tatum Clopton, Kay Lee Richardson and Mckenzie Marcum all posted multi-hit efforts as well.

Clopton, Sara Roszak and Georgia Rea all clobbered home runs for the Firebirds. Todd and Marcum both delivered a double to go along with three RBIs apiece. They were both second only to Rea, who drove in four runs for the visitors.

In the circle, Clopton struck out five batters and gave up two hits across three scoreless innings.

FSHS will host Shawnee Mission West at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Free State 22, Mill Valley 0

FSHS 6 10 6 — 22 15 0

MLLV 0 0 0 — 0 2 5

photo by: Chance Parker

Lawrence High sophomore infielder Emmersyn Dye catches a pop fly during a game against Blue Valley West at the Olathe District Activity Center Friday afternoon on April 16, 2021.

Friday’s City Showdown postponed

With Lawrence High’s softball team in quarantine, the City Showdown on Friday has been postponed. A makeup date has not been announced, as Free State was slated to host LHS at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

In addition, LHS (2-8) had two other games scheduled for this week that have since been moved. Lawrence was slated to host Blue Valley North on Tuesday, and had another home game against Olathe West on Thursday. No makeup dates have been announced.

The Lions return to the softball diamond on April 27, where they will travel to Mill Valley.

Local freshman golfers earn top-20 finishes

A pair of local golfers finished inside the top 20 to lead the way during the second round of the Sunflower League Invitational on Monday at the Sunflower Hills Golf Course.

Freshman Jack Randall, who won an individual title during the first round last week, followed that up with a 13th-place finish. He shot an 81 to post the highest finish among area golfers, leading FSHS to a seventh-place finish as a team with a total score of 355.

Lawrence freshman Gunnar Wayenberg carded an 84 to finish in a tie for 19th place as an individual. The Lions posted a total score of 404 to place 12th out of 15 squads in the event.

Olathe West won the round with a total score of 318. Mill Valley senior Nick Mason shot 71 to claim the top spot on the individual leaderboard.

Both teams will be back in action at the Village Greens Golf Course on Wednesday.

Sunflower League second round

Monday at Sunflower Hills Golf Course

Team scores: 1. Olathe West 318; 2. SM East 320; 3. Olathe NW 323; 4. Olathe South 332; 5. Olathe East 343; 6. Mill Valley 344; 7. Free State 355; 8. SM Northwest 359; 9. SM South 364; 10. Olathe North 373; 11. SM West 385; 12. Lawrence 404; 13. Gardner Edgerton 415; 14. SM North 459; 15. Leavenworth 472.

FSHS results: 13. Jack Randall 81; 25. Jackson McMillan 86; T34. Reece Gray 89; T53. Nate Pilakowski 99; T64. Dawson Pfannenstiel 103; 68. Cameron Packard 104;

LHS results: T19. Gunnar Wayenberg 84; 64. Macade Lewis 103; 75. Evan Liakos 108; T76. Austin Pennybaker 109; T80. Dallas Ostronic 111; T80. Mike Williams 111.

LHS senior soccer standout delivers clutch goal

Senior I’yawa Brewer was the hero in Lawrence High’s 1-0 road win over Pembroke Hill on Monday.

After a defensive battle for all of regulation, Brewer delivered the game-winning score in overtime to help the Lions pick up a big win. Brewer’s golden goal was assisted by Campbell Leitch.

The Lions are now 2-2 on the year.

LHS will host Shawnee Mission East at 6 p.m. Thursday.

FSHS tennis places 11th

Free State’s boys tennis team placed 11th in a tournament at the Plaza Tennis Center on Monday.

The Firebirds were led by their doubles team of Ben Melvin and George Thornton on the day. After entering the event at the No. 13 seed, the duo finished ninth by going 3-1. They lost their first match to Liberty High School before collecting wins over Barstow, Lee’s Summit West and Blue Valley.

Minh Vu and Jake Hedges, who were the No. 14 seed, went 2-2 with wins over Manhattan High and Lee’s Summit North. They took 11th as a doubles team in the tourney.

Jared Loos also placed 11th in the singles bracket, earning wins over Lee’s Summit West and Lee’s Summit North during a 2-2 effort.


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