No. 11 Huskies fall to No. 6 Hawks in regional semifinal game

The varsity baseball team was defeated by Olathe East, 8-3, in their KSHSAA 6A regional semifinal game, May 21.


Ellison Gracik

Junior Matthew Lemke walks off the field after a loss.

Jack Nitz, Sports Editor

The regional semifinal game was originally scheduled for Wednesday, May 19, but was postponed twice due to rain. Head coach Mike Pangborn said despite the postponings, the Huskies entered the game with a great mindset.

“I thought we had a really good approach all week even with the delay and everything and I thought our guys stayed positive,” Pangborn said.

Agreeing with Pangborn, junior Matthew Lemke said the team was excited leading up to the game and was looking forward to making a run at a state championship.

“We came out with a lot of effort and a lot of excitement and we were all really pumped to make a run in the playoffs,” Lemke said.

In the bottom of the first inning, the Hawks hit a solo homerun to give them a 1-0 lead heading into the second inning. Senior Kysen Howard led the second inning off with a walk and junior Mikey Pauley reached on an error to give the Huskies runners on first and second base with no outs. After a sacrifice bunt and a walk, the bases were loaded with one out and senior Brady Kaplan at the plate. Kaplan hit a ground ball to second and the Hawks recorded an out but made a throwing error, allowing Howard and Pauley to score, giving the Huskies a 2-1 lead.

After establishing a lead in the second inning, Kaplan said the team was right where they wanted to be. 

“Getting that lead early was a big momentum changer. We came into the game wanting to get a lead and that’s what we did,” Kaplan said.

The Huskies gave up two more runs and were trailing, 3-2, through two innings. Kaplan said that after the Huskies fell behind, things started to go downhill as the Olathe East hitter who hit the homerun in the first inning recorded a second home run in the third inning and added a third home run in the sixth.

“Hats off to that guy, he had a big day. After he hit his second home run, things started to go downhill,” Kaplan said. 

The Huskies recorded just two hits in the game, a double by senior Corey McCready in the fourth inning and a RBI single by Kaplan in the sixth.

The 8-3 loss brings an end to the Huskies season. Lemke said his favorite part about the season is looking back and comparing how the team started versus how they finished.

“We started the season 2-8 and we ended the season very strong. The back half of the season was very strong and the seniors were a big part of that,” Lemke said.

Pangborn said it is a disappointing end to the season, but he will remember the experiences he had over the course of the season.

“I’m disappointed with how it ended, but I’m honored to be a part of the seniors’ last year. I feel like I’ve learned a lot from those six guys and I’m proud of what they have done,” Pangborn said.

Playing in his last high school game, Kaplan said he is upset with how it ended and he will miss playing with his teammates and coaches.

“I wanted to win a state title with these guys. These guys are like my brothers and I’ll miss playing with them and I’ll miss playing with Coach Pangborn,” Kaplan said.