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Sabetha Baseball Shocks #1 Bishop Ward to Advance to 3A State Tournament
By Brandon Tadtman
Copyright: MSC Sports

The Sabetha Bluejays baseball team is back in the 3A State Tournament for a third straight season after winning the Jefferson West Regional Tournament with wins over Jeff West and Bishop Ward on Tuesday. 

Semifinal #1: (1) Bishop Ward 7, (4) Perry-Lecompton 0

Bishop Ward scored two early runs in the first three innings on a wild pitch and sac-fly from Manny Dunn. Dunn would add to it in a four-run fourth inning with a two-run home run which gave the Cyclones a 6-0 lead. 

They would add one more on Perry-Lecompton in the sixth inning with Dunn adding an RBI single. The Kaws couldn't get much going on offense with just two hits in the game which were singles by Garrett Metcalfe and Caden Byers. 

Dunn also pitched for Bishop Ward and racked up 11 strikeouts with a complete game shutout. Perry-Lecompton had their season come to an end with the loss with a record of 13-7. 

Semifinal #2: (2) Sabetha 3, (3) Jefferson West 2

The Bluejays and Tigers were battling it out for a third time in 2024 with the two teams splitting their regular season doubleheader in April. 

The game was scoreless through the first four innings but the Tigers would tack on the first run in the fifth inning on an RBI double from Colin Crowson. Jeff West would add a key insurance run in the top of the seventh on an RBI single from Gage Galle. 

The Bluejays had their backs against the wall down 2-0 with one final chance in the bottom of the seventh and were able to get it done. The Tigers helped the cause with two crucial errors in the inning but Christian McAfee, Chase Frey, and Aidan Lang driving in runs with Lang ending the game with a walkoff single. 

The Tigers got a great outing from Cooper Watkins who pitched six innings and racked up 10 strikeouts. McAfee was the pitcher for the Bluejays and also posted a strong outing allowing two runs on five hits with two strikeouts in seven innings. 

With the loss, Jefferson West ended their season with a record of 16-7. 

Championship Game: (2) Sabetha 4, (1) Bishop Ward 1

It was the top two teams in the bracket battling it out for a trip to the State Tournament on the line in the final game of the night. 

Both starting pitchers in Chris Mancinas for Bishop Ward and Mitchell Kramer for Sabetha were the story of the game early with not much offense to be had. 

The Bluejays would put up the first run of the game in the fifth inning as Kramer was able to score on a throwing error by Manny Dunn trying to turn a double play which would've ended the inning. 

The Cyclones wasted no time getting the run back in the home fifth inning with leadoff hitter Keylan Overton tying the game with a two-out solo home run over the fence in right center field. 

Both teams would go scoreless in the sixth inning and it was a 1-1 game going into the seventh inning. Sabetha put the pressure and got Mancinas out of the game putting the first three batters on base with a Will Ulrich single, Kramer single, and Marcus Bauman hit by pitch. 

With the bases loaded and nobody out Ulrich dashed home on a wild pitch and gave the Bluejays a 2-1 lead. The backbreaking hit came from McAfee driving in two more runs with a single to give Sabetha the 4-1 advantage. 

Kramer saw one batter in the seventh and struck out Rolando Calderon before having to exit because of his pitch count. Kramer finished the game with nine strikeouts allowing just one run on five hits. 

Jacob Grimm took over on the bump and got the last two outs of the game on a line out and a ground out to third base. 

Bishop Ward was the #1 ranked team in the state and undefeated at 22-0 going into the Regional Title game and finishes the season 22-1. 

The Bluejays are 19-5 and have won 19 of their last 21 games since starting the season 0-3. Bluejays will play their first round game at the State Tournament on Thursday (May 23) in Manhattan. 

Interview w/ Sabetha head coach Curtis Hamilton

Interview w/ Sabetha junior Mitchell Kramer

Interview w/ Sabetha senior Christian McAfee 

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Hiawatha, KS 66434
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