BY JIM MISUNAS
MANHATTAN – Hoisington's baseball team has a chance at school history when the Cardinals face No. 1 seed Humboldt (22-1) at the 3A state tournament. The Cardinals have lost their opening round game every time at the state tournament.
Humboldt features pitcher Trey Sommer (11-0, 1.37 ERA), pitcher Logan Page (6-0, 0.39 ERA), Kyler Isbell (.556) and Sam Hull (.529).
The Cardinals (15-7) are 12-1 over the past 13 games. Tony Moore (5-1) is hitting .488. Chase Steinert is hitting .481 with four home runs. Lane French (.391) is 4-0 with three saves as the Cardinals' closer. M.J. Aylward (.389) and Layton Haxton (.356) are batting over .350.
"They believed all year," said said Hoisington coach Eric Steiner. "It was a good team effort by everyone. We played extra innings with Hesston twice during the season. We wanted to be competitive and give ourselves a chance to win ballgames."
The Cardinals' 13-5 regional championship over Hesston was ignited with a 12-run fifth inning. The Cardinals scored 11 unearned runs thanks to five Hesston errors. The Cardinals scored nine runs after Gratton Dalton reached base on a passed ball on a strikeout with two out. Steinert, Aylward, Moore and Dalton delivered RBIs in a crazy fifth inning that saw Hesston commit four errors.
"We put pressure on their defense. We've been capable of coming up with a big inning," Steiner said.
The Cardinals used French, Moore and Aylward in relief.
“Lane French pitched great and Tony Moore and M.J. Aylward did a nice job in relief,” Steiner said. "We played good defense. We had a great effort all day long."
Shortstop Moore and second baseman Aylward teamed for back-to-back double plays in the first two innings.
"Tony is one of our leaders who helped turn two double plays against Hesston," Steiner said. "He made a big hustle play on a rundown. He's selective at the plate and swings the bat well."
HOISINGTON CARDINALS (15-7)
1—Rhen Galla, IB/RF, 10
2—Chase Steinert, 3B/P, 12
3—Leyton Haxton, CF/P, 12
4—Mason Martin, SS/CF/CF/RF, 9
5—M.J. Aylward, 2B/P, 12
6—Preston Roat, P, 10
7—Kyler Russell, 10
8—Tony Moore, SS/P, 11
9—Braxton Linsner, 12
10—Marcus Ingram, C, 12
13—Ethan Graff, RF, 9
14—Tyrus Penka, 9
15—Carson Mason, 9
18—Ethan Grubb, RF, 10
19—Lane French, LF/P, 10
20—Gratton Dalton, 1B/C, 11
21—Aiden Hekele, 9
COACHES—Head coach Eric Steiner, Jason Ingram, Tyler Schremmer
CARDINAL PITCHING (15-7)—Tony Moore 5-1; Lane French 4-0; Gratton Dalton 1-0; M.J. Aylward 1-0; Preston Roat 1-1; Leyton Haxton 2-2; Mason Martin 2-3
3A MANHATTAN (5-25)
11 a.m.—Columbus 20-2 vs. KC ward 17-6; 1:15—Santa Fe Trail 19-2 vs. Goodland 18-4; 3:30—Humboldt 22-1 vs. Hoisington/Central Plains 15-7; 5:45 p.m.—Wichita Collegiate 19-4 vs. Sabetha 19-4