Basehor-Linwood rolls past Atchison into semifinals
Henley dominant as BLHS collects first-round victory
KANSAS CITY, KAN. — It looked like a simple misstep, a turned ankle perhaps, when Tyler Henley stepped in a hole and one-hopped a pitch well in front of the plate during the fifth inning Monday.
No worries. Despite reaggrivating an injured hip on the play, Henley fired his next four pitches for strikes and recovered nicely from what was his only display of weakness in a dominant three-hit, 10-strikeout effort in the Class 4A regional opener against Atchison.
Kyle Savner came on to toss the final inning of the Basehor-Linwood baseball team’s 5-1 victory at Eisenhower Field.
The Bobcats advanced to play in the regional semifinals Wednesday afternoon against Bishop Ward in a game that wasn’t completed by press time. Results can be found online at basehorinfo.com.
BLHS coach Dave Svoboda said he was pleased with Henley’s performance.
“His hip’s hurting him, so he didn’t have his best stuff, but he made good pitches when we needed them,” Svoboda said. “He’s pitching hurt, so I wanted to make sure we were smart with him. Once he got to (100 pitches) I knew we were done (having him throw.”
With that being the case, Svoboda didn’t hesitate to call Savner’s number.
“We’re going to need Kyle to come in and do those kind of things for us if we’re going to get where we want to get on Wednesday,” Svoboda said. “We’re going to need Kyle, and Kyle embraces that role.”
While the pitching was solid, the offense wasn’t as crisp. BLHS mustered just four hits but earned 11 walks. Nathan Quigley earned a leadoff walk in the first inning and later scored on a ground out by Henley for a 1-0 lead.
The Bobcats turned two more walks — one by Destry Bryan and another by Quigley — into second-inning runs. Still, BLHS stranded five base runners in the first two innings or the 3-0 lead could have been much greater.
Henley said the early runs helped him focus on his pitching.
“That cushion right there, it helped a lot,” he said.
Atchison scored once in the third inning thanks to a pair of singles and a sacrifice bunt, but no more than one of the Redmen reached base in any inning the rest of the way.
Quigley reached base on an error and scored in the fourth inning, and Henley doubled and later scored on a single by Ryan Lawless in the sixth inning to cap the scoring.
The semifinal game pits Basehor against six-time defending state champion Bishop Ward. An imposing force, to be sure, the Cyclones have proven to be vulnerable at times this season. In fact, one of their three losses came about two weeks ago to Basehor-Linwood, 6-0.
Svoboda said the success against Ward should give his team confidence.
“It’s huge that we’ve beaten them, and it’s huge that our guys had that kind of success late in the season,” Svoboda said. “Obviously it doesn’t do anything for us other than give us that little bit of an edge in our own minds.”