There’s little doubt Shawnee Mission East enjoys hitting at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Lancers belted out 11 hits, including six for extra bases, during an 11-1, six-inning win over Wichita West in a Kansas Class 6A quarterfinal.
SM East advanced to Saturday’s semifinals against Topeka Washburn Rural.
“We put some hits together at the right time and we were smart on the base paths,” said senior Henry Churchill, who had three RBIs for the Lancers. “I think we were a little nervous early on, but the nerves eventually went away. This gives us some confidence and momentum heading into the semifinals.”
Jacob Randa set the tone for the Lancers early. After gunning down Wichita West’s Jose Salas at the plate from center field to end the top of the first, Randa led off the bottom of the inning with a double and eventually scored on a groundout.
Joey Wentz launched an RBI double to deep left in the third, and Clayton Phillips’ two-run single highlighted the Lancers’ three-run fourth.
SM East also pushed across three runs in the final two frames as Churchill smacked an RBI triple in the fifth, then ripped a two-run single in the sixth.
Luke Anderson finished 4 for 4 with a triple and a double for the Lancers.
After his defense helped him out in the first, SM East pitcher Zeb Vermillion kept the Pioneers in check, limiting them to one hit over the final five innings.
“Feels good to advance, especially since we have good depth on our pitching staff,” Vermillion said. “That gives us the opportunity to do something special as a team. With our lineup and pitching, it should be fun.”
Olathe South eliminated
Olathe South couldn’t solve Topeka Washburn Rural’s Dalton Huggins during a 5-2 loss in the quarterfinals Friday.
Huggins scattered six hits and struck out six in a complete game for the Junior Blues. Washburn Rural used a four-run third inning to take control in its victory.
Brian Wircenske had an RBI double and Andrew Llamas recorded an RBI groundout for the Falcons.
Inclement weather Friday postponed the semifinals to Saturday. Blue Valley and Lawrence Free State will play in the first semifinal at 10 a.m., followed by SM East against Washburn Rural.
The state championship game will start 20 minutes after the second semifinal.
St. Thomas Aquinas made it to the Kansas state 5A baseball playoffs Friday before weather ended its day early.
Riley Pint pitched seven innings, striking out 12 in Aquinas’ 3-1 quarterfinal win over Topeka Seaman earlier in the day.
Aquinas, 19-4, was scheduled to play its semifinal game Friday afternoon. But with an enormous storm cell headed towards Wichita, officials decided to postpone the game until Saturday.
The first pitch of Aquinas’ game against Maize is scheduled for noon Saturday. If Aquinas wins, it would have to play in the championship game later in the day.