Defending state champs beat Lansing, extend winning streak to 39
Topeka The Seaman High baseball team ran its winning streak to 39 games on Wednesday, May 16, when it earned a return trip to the Class 5A state tournament.
The defending state champs picked up victory No. 39 against Lansing High - the same team that was victim No. 17. Seaman ended Lansing's season last year in the first round of the state tournament when the Vikings won, 9-4.
On Wednesday the Vikings fended off an early threat before beating the Lions, 11-1, in six innings in the regional tournament at the Seaman High stadium.
"Once you hear a number, then you think they're unbeatable, which they're not," LHS senior Matt McMillin said. "Their pitcher wasn't the greatest in the world. We just hesitated a little bit, and that's what killed us."
Seaman needed just 2 1/2 innings to defeat Schlagle in its first-round game, but Lansing made sure Seaman had to earn its victory in the finals.
Seaman took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Tyler Bean earned a two-out walk and then scored on Ryan Sayler's base hit.
Lansing countered with a run in the top of the third. McMillin laced a one-out single to left field, took second and third base on passed balls and then scored when Seaman pitcher Jake Hosey made an errant pickoff throw.
"Seaman came in a little loose : I don't think they were really buckled in and bearing down, and I think we startled them a little bit," LHS coach Troy Andrews said. "They were throwing it around and made a couple errors, and we felt like we were right back in it."
That feeling didn't last long. Bean and Zach Carlson cranked back-to-back doubles as Seaman opened the bottom of the third with four straight hits. LHS also made four errors in the inning as the Vikings built a 5-1 lead.
"Once they scored four in the third, you could see the heads deflate because I don't know we could score five runs on that guy," Andrews said, referring to Hosey's 0.00 earned run average this season.
Seaman scored three more runs in the fourth inning as Carlson and Robbie Rea homered. The Vikings added three more runs in the sixth to complete the run-rule victory.
Earlier in the day Lansing won its first-round game against Highland Park, 8-3. LHS plated three runs in the first inning and another in the second, but Highland Park rallied for three runs in the fifth. The Lions answered back with four runs in the bottom half of the inning to put the game away. Kyle Miller and Kyle Hutchison scored two runs apiece in the victory. McMillin allowed five hits in four innings of work for the victory. Kris Hernandez threw three innings in relief and earned the save.
Lansing ends its season with a 12-10 record.
Although LHS ended its season short of the state tournament, Andrews said he was proud of his team for the way it improved throughout the year. Sophomore Chris Grady agreed, and he said that by hanging around for a while with Seaman, Lansing now knows it can play at a high level. He said that has him excited to see what the team can accomplish next year.
"It's not really your record, it's the people in the team and the strength and the confidence behind the other players," he said. "We didn't really have that at times this year, but if we come back more confident in each other next year, then I think we will be stronger."
The regional championship marked the final game for seniors Tylor McNeill, Mike Nielsen, John Sebes, Miller and McMillin. Seven varsity regulars will be back next year.