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Panthers face Wichita Carroll at 5A baseball


WICHITA — When Great Bend's baseball team played highly-regarded St. Thomas Aquinas at the 2019 state tournament, the runner-up Saints edged the Panthers 6-2.

Four years later, the challenge is similar when the Panthers (13-9) play No. 1 seed Wichita Carroll (21-1) at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Wichita State's Eck Stadium. 

Sophomore pitcher Carson Umphres (5-3, 2.57 ERA) headlines six freshmen and sophomore starters, who gave Great Bend coach Randy Beck a pleasant state qualifying surprise. 

"One thing we've got going is nobody expects us to win," Beck said. "If we get a good pitching performance, have a few things go our way, we could come out on top."

Umphres (.443 batting) owns pitching wins against Hays, Hutchinson, Liberal, Garden City and Salina South. Key reliever Hunter Herrman (2-3, 4.52 ERA) has made 12 appearances.

Beck expects Umphres to keep the Panthers competitive against Carroll.

"Carson is our guy who 's does everything," Beck said. "He competes hard on the mound. When he's on, we go. He hits for power and average."

Carroll's top pitcher Payton Newell has 48 strikeouts with a 1.35 ERA.

"They're a really good baseball team that'll come out and play aggressive," Beck said. "They're good defensively and hit the baseball one through nine with speed on the bases. We've got to slow their speed."

The Panthers surprised Hays High 3-1 and rallied past Andover High 4-3 on an Edwin Chavez bunt to qualify for the 5A state tournament.

"We've performed really well at times," Beck said. "It took us time to get used to the speed of the game. We had a good stretch during the middle of the season."

The Panthers captured state baseball championships in 1955, 1995 and 1998.


4—Carson Poe, 10

6—Koehn Ribordy, 9

8—Hunter Herrman, 10

9—Slade Mohr, 10

11—Trenton Kern, 9

12—Daxton Minton, 9

13—Owen Kaiser, 10

14—Bradley Hopkins, 12

15—Edwin Chavez, 12

16—Trey Milsap, 10

22—Carson Umphres, 10

23—Tyler Stuhlsatz, 12

26—Jace Schwartz, 10

27—J.J. Grove, 9

35—Ian Premer, 9

COACHES—Head coach Randy Beck, Jason Perry, Landon Sciacca, Matt Barton, Michael

PANTHER PITCHING—Umphres, 5-3, 2.57 ERA (19 ER-51.2 IP, 37 K); Stuhlsatz, 3-2, 4.01 ERA (13 ER-22.2 IP, 14 K); Herrman, 2-3, 4.52 ERA (17 ER-26.1 IP, 30 K); Chavez, 2-0, 5.54 ERA (14 ER-17.2 IP, 15 K); Kaiser, 1-0, 4.00 ERA (4 ER-7 IP, 13 K); Ribordy, 0.70 ERA (1 ER-10 IP, 9K); Mohr, 0-1, 0.00 ERA (0 ER-1.1 IP); Minton, 0 ER-2 IP; Poe 0 ER-2 IP, 3 K)

5A WICHITA (5-25)

11 a.m.—DeSoto 19-3 vs. Spring Hill 13-5; 1:15—St. Thomas Aquinas 19-3 vs. Goddard 16-6; 3:30—Wichita Carroll 21-1 vs. Great Bend 13-9; 5:45 p.m.—Topeka Seaman 18-4 vs. Goddard Eisenhower 17-4