Several MCAA tennis players will be heading to their respective state tournaments, and the TMP baseball team won its 17th-straight in a busy week of spring sports.
There might have been doubts after a game-one loss to start the season. Since then, the Monarch baseball team has put together 17 straight wins, including sweeps of Larned and Great Bend last week. Thursday, TMP had to erase a four-run deficit early to win game one against Class 5A’s Great Bend 9-7. They took game two 14-5.
Junior Shane Zimmerman took over on the mound in relief in the third inning, going the final five innings, striking out seven and allowing just three hits for the win to improve to 5-1. Zimmerman also had a big day at the plate, picking up three hits and driving in two runs in the comeback. He scored the game-tying run.
Taylor Pfeifer drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning. Colby Schippers singled to drive in two more runs, which would prove invaluable, as Great Bend would later add two runs.
Nick Hammeke got the start in game two, falling behind 3-0 early before shutting down the Panther offense to stay unbeaten at 5-0. TMP posted five runs in their half of the first inning and never looked back. The Monarchs, who have been the Class 3A runner-up the past two seasons, finished the regular-season Thursday against Colby.
Last fall, the Lady Eagles tennis team won a Class 3-2-1A state championship. Friday, three more Eagles qualified for the state tournament at regional play in Russell. Marc Waite snuck in as the final qualifier in singles, and Kale Clawson and Kyle Blakeslee finished fourth in doubles play.
Waite opened the day with an 8-2 win against MCAA-foe Hoisington. After dropping a 6-1, 6-4 match to the eventual third-place finisher from Trego, Waite won an all-important match against Central Plains 6-4, 6-2. After already qualifying for state, Waite fell to Sterling 6-1, 6-0 for sixth-place.
Blakeslee and Clawson won their first two matches 8-3 and 6-2, 6-4 before losing to the eventual regional champions from Central Plains 6-2, 6-1. Already headed to state, the duo lost the consolation match to Sterling 6-2, 6-1 to finish in fourth place.
The Cardinal tennis team ended its season Friday at the Class 3-2-1A regional in Russell. Hoisington posted an 0-4 record in the first round to make an early exit at the tournament.
In singles play, Evan Smith lost his match to MCAA-foe Marc Waite of Ellinwood 8-2. Waite went on to qualify for state. Brian Schauf was the other singles player for the Cardinals, dropping his match to Russell 8-5.
In doubles play, Connor Mooney and Taylor Crawford lost their match to Ellinwood 8-4. The Ellinwood team came up just short of qualification. Darwin Brickley and Jeffrey Kaiser lost to the eventual fifth-place finishers from Ellsworth 8-3.
Jeret Johnson had to play one of the state’s toughest players, but the senior was still able to escape with a fourth-place finish and ticket to state at Friday’s Class 4A tennis regional in McPherson. Johnson entered as the No. 4 seed, easily winning round-one 6-0, 6-0. Johnson then knocked off the No. 5 seed from Hesston 6-1, 6-2, to set up a marquee match-up against two-time defending state champion Quinn Dippel of Smoky Valley, who has won the last four team titles in 4A. Dippel surrendered just one game in two sets to Johnson, and Johnson fell to McPherson 6-3, 6-4 in the consolation match to finish in fourth.
Kevin VonFeldt was the other Larned singles player, winning his first match against Buhler 6-4, 6-0. That set up a tough match against Abilene’s Matt Barlow, who had lost only to Dippel in the year. Barlow defeated VonFeldt 6-1, 6-0. Larned was eliminated with a 6-3, 7-5 loss to Hesston.
In doubles, Gabe Cowell and Jahman Hill played one of two early matches, winning 9-2. The fell to the No. 5 team from Buhler 6-1, 6-3 to end their season. Michael Orth and Miguel Garcia had to take on the No. 2 team from McPherson, losing 6-0, 6-0 to close the year.