Basehor’s Svoboda, Lawless participate in KCMBCA All-Star Baseball Game
Basehor-Linwood senior Ryan Lawless struck out two batters in one inning of pitching against the best baseball players from the greater Kansas City area last week.
He pitched and played shortstop on the Kansas team in the Kansas City Metro Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Game last week, helping his team earn an 8-4 victory at Kauffman Stadium.
“He played really well,” BLHS coach David Svoboda said. “He played shortstop and pitched well in the game.”
Svoboda also represented Basehor-Linwood, serving as the game’s director. He managed the entire process from player selections to the purchasing of uniforms and finding a venue to play the game.
Svoboda spent most of his time taking tickets or helping complete necessary tasks while the game went on. He only had a little bit of time to watch the game even though he was the event’s architect.
He helped put the two teams together, coordinating a selection process with input from Kansas and Missouri coaches.
In selecting players, the association sent selection forms to coaches via e-mail and allowed two weeks for them to be returned. Coaches could nominate players on their team and from other schools.
From the coaches’ nominations, a list of 40 names in Missouri and 38 from Kansas was compiled. The list was whittled down to a group of the best players from both sides of the state line to select 14 players from Missouri and 15 from Kansas. Each school was limited to three players on the team.
“I thought we did a good job of getting kids from all sizes of schools represented,” Svoboda said.
In addition to Lawless, Jacob Kalenda of Bishop Ward was another Kaw Valley League player who participated.
Svoboda said they looked at player statistics in selecting the players. Svoboda said a reporter who was selecting an All-Metro team called to get some statistics on Missouri players.
“We were extremely thorough with what we did,” Svoboda said.
He said people praised the selection of the team, and he hadn’t heard any complaints.
In addition to selecting players, Svoboda also worked with the Kansas City Royals to play the game at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals waived the rental fee for the game and opened up a concession stand. They also partially staffed the game.
Svoboda said the Royals deserved a lot of credit for everything that they did. Waiving the rental fee allowed the Coaches Association to spend additional money on uniforms and umpires.
The all-star teams were led by coaches whose schools had gone to state.
Svoboda said it was a special experience for him.
“Oh yeah,” he said. “It is definitely a labor of love.”
He said he wanted to do it again next year, and would help in whatever capacity he was asked.