Baseball wins first game of regionals, 6-5, and loses second game, 0-2

On Thursday, the BVNW varisty baseball team played at regionals and won their first game, 6-5. However, they lost their second game, 0-2, and will not advance to state.

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The fans sat on the benches, dripping in cold rain as they watched the baseball players study each other’s moves. At the bottom of the seventh inning, BVNW was down 0-2 against Olathe South. If they won this game, they would go on to play state. If not, it was the end of the season.

Thursday night, BVNW boys varsity baseball team played regionals, winning their first game 6-5 against Olathe East after a sacrifice fly by senior Nathaniel Vossman and senior Cole Duensing scored a run in the tenth inning.

The team then went on to play OS, who scored two runs in the third inning and the rest of the game went with no runs, ending the season for BVNW. According to head coach, Corby Lange, despite the loss, the players battled extremely well through both games.

“Last night would make our fifth game we’ve won on our last swing and I think that, to me, is very uncommon. You don’t find a group of kids who can battle to their last swing so many times throughout a season, and I think that’s just a credit to how competitive they are, how hard they work, how much they believe,” Lange said. “To have to fight back, to go extra innings, to have guys stepping up to do things whether it’s coming off the bench and going into the game as a pitcher or runners or guys who are stepping up to bat and get good hits, I mean that’s pretty much the story of game one.”

Senior Nick Mehlin, who has been on varsity for three years, said the team played a good season, despite Thursday’s loss.

“I was definitely my best season as a husky after three years on varsity. Even though it didn’t end the way we wanted it to, there was still plenty of success,” Mehlin said. “What Coach Lange said to me, the season was going to end the same way for every single team in the state except one, and that’s with a loss. It came earlier than we wanted it to, but all in all we had the best record that I had out of all three years.”

Senior Cole Duensing agreed that the season had gone great and the team played well in their last game. According to Duensing, the team’s focus was stronger in the second game, despite the score.

“The first game was a long game, it went into extra innings and we fought hard and pulled that one out,” Duensing said. “I would say the second game was just a hard fought game by both teams and we just came up a little bit short. I wouldn’t have changed anything. The only thing I would change is the score, if I had the power to do that.”

Senior Jack Knutson said the only significant difference between the first and second game was the level of opponent they were up against.

“The first game was a close game because I think we were playing a little tight but once we loosened up we put up some runs and they ended up coming back but we didn’t sweat it, we put everything back together and beat them with the next run,” Knutson said. “But then we just played a tougher opponent and we didn’t find any rhythm.”

Both Lange and Mehlin said overall the team grew stronger throughout the season, and the seniors left a mark on the team and the underclassmen filling their shoes next year. Lange said a lot of credit for the team’s strength goes to the commitment of the seniors on the team.

“I don’t like to think of it as just a game, I mean a game means you’re just focused on one result, one outcome. A game is just indicative of a whole season, is…a better way to look at it,” Lange said. “We have six seniors who are so committed to each other, to playing the game the best they can and working at it, to their team, to their school, to their friends, to younger kids who are on the team. I mean, they just left it all out on the field.”

Mehlin said the team was close to begin with, but got closer as the season went on because of the confidence they had in each other. The connection, Mehlin said, will make an even stronger team in years to come. After the loss, the team embraced and tears were shed after a strong season and the seniors ended their high school baseball career.

“You could see how close we were as a team and [losing the game] just really hurt because we wanted it so bad and we were so invested in each other,” Mehlin said, “and you know, like I said, [the season] ended earlier than we wanted it to but we all knew we had a successful season and there’s nothing that could take that away from us.”  

Knutson agreed the strength in the relationships made within the team made ending the season emotional for many of the players.

“A lot of us seniors just knew we weren’t going to play together again,” Knutson said, “and we’d been playing with each other for all four years or more than that and we just knew it was the last time we’d be stepping on the field together.”

Lange said the reaction after the game showed just how much the team cared about the game and about their team, and the commitment they all had to the game and to each other.

“We ended it leaving it all on the field…in our society everyone wants to win, including our kids, including me, we all wanted to win that game, everyone wanted to have that dogpile, we all wanted that, but we don’t get to control that and the experience was rich,” Lange said. “You can’t lie to yourself, and you know when you’ve done everything you can and you’ve given everything you can. We had six guys, six seniors, who felt that way, that’s why they were so upset after that game, so I guess my takeaway from that is even though we didn’t win that game, the experience is an important one to them.”