Blue Valley baseball advances to state for seventh straight season

05/21/2014 11:00 PM

06/03/2014 10:17 AM

For the seventh consecutive season, the Blue Valley boys baseball team is headed to the Kansas Class 6A state tournament after a command performance in the regionals.

The Tigers built an early seven-run lead and defeated Olathe East 14-6 on Wednesday night at the College Boulevard Activity Center. Blue Valley had defeated Shawnee Mission South 11-1 earlier in the day and improved to 15-7 with the two victories. The Hawks finished their season with a record of 16-6.

“We’re really excited to have a chance to go back again,” Tigers coach Tony Scardino said. “We knew coming in that Olathe East would be very good. And Shawnee Mission South we beat twice this year, but it is difficult to beat a team three times. We respected them enough that we threw our No. 1 at them in the first game and saved our two sophomores for the second game, and they did a great job.”

Relying on the combination of sophomores Tanner Fox and Will Brennan and senior Tanner Strickbine, who came in to close the game, the Tigers held the Hawks to six runs on 10 hits while the offense used 11 hits for their 14 runs.

“If we play like we did tonight, we will be tough to beat,” senior Mitchell Rogers said.

The Tigers used five walks, four hits and a fielder’s choice in their seven-run first inning. They held the Hawks scoreless until the third.

“Their pitcher walked some kids, and we were fortunate to be able to take advantage of the walks and turn them into runs,” Scardino said. “Even though we were up, I never felt like we were safe throughout the game because they are so potent I just wasn’t sure.”

Blue Valley will begin state competition May 29 at Hoglund Ballpark on the KU campus in Lawrence.

To reach Kathleen Gier, call 816-234-4875 or send email to kgier@kcstar.com.

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