In 41 years as a head baseball coach, Bill McDonald of Blue Valley West never had the privilege of returning an entire state championship team in one piece.
This season, he was able to do that after losing only four seniors from the previous squad, but he said it comes with its own challenges.
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“Even when you have all those people back, you simply can never assume that they know how to do it,” McDonald said. “You have to continue to work so that they understand what you as a coach are looking for, and it has to clearly get across to them what they are supposed to do.”
Even though two returning starters, Ryan Ralston and Connor Kaiser, have been battling injuries they suffered at the end of the basketball season, the Jaguars seem to be back in the groove. Blue Valley West, 9-2 so far this season, is ranked first in Kansas Class 6A in the Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches poll.
SM Northwest golf
When you put together three high school golfers with as much experience as Shawnee Mission Northwest’s Blake Allen, Colton Allen and Mitchell Bolton, good things are bound to happen.
So far, that has been the case for the Cougars who placed second last week in the Shawnee Mission East Invitational at the Meadowbrook Golf Country Club.
“They know what their weaknesses are and know what their strengths are, so now that they’re starting to really spend their time working on their weaknesses, and it’s starting to pay off,” Cougars coach Jim Bamburg said.
Blake Allen took home the individual title with a score of 72 while Colton Allen and Bolton placed ninth and 10th with 78s. The SM Northwest team scored 313 points, and Shawnee Mission East finished first with 306.
ST Aquinas baseball
The Saint Thomas Aquinas baseball team is off to a good start with a fifth place ranking in the Class 5A Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches poll, and coach Lorne Parks attributes one of the keys to the team's success is the players' ability to have fun.
“The players are enjoying playing as a team, and they seem focused on what they want to achieve,” Parks said.
The Saints improved to 10-2 with a third place finish at the USD 232 Invitational last weekend in De Soto..