Indians looking to 'make noise' at state
No matter what happens in this week's Class 5A state tournament, the 2021 season will be considered a resounding success for the Hays High baseball team.
The Indians have already claimed a Western Athletic Conference title, a Western Plains Diamond Classic title and a regional championship on the season. They will take a 17-3 record into Thursday's 1:15 p.m. state opener against Topeka Seaman (19-3) at Wichita State's Eck Stadium.
But that doesn't mean the Indians are satisfied.
"I told the guys after (the regional) final, 'We're not content now,' " Hays High coach Dustin Dreher said. "I think we got some firepower to make some noise down there and be playing important games on Friday this year."
The fourth-seeded Indians have won 12 out of their 13 games. Their only loss in that span was to Manhattan, but the Indians avenged it a day later in the Diamond Classic championship game.
They advanced out of their own regional with a 5-4 win over Andover and a 4-0 win over Valley Center, reaching state for the 13th in program history. Their last trip to state was in 2017.
Dylan Dreiling (8-0) has gone 29 2/3 consecutive innings without surrendering a run on the mound. The junior left hander sports an 0.44 ERA in 47.2 innings pitched. He has 88 strikeouts on the season.
The Indians have four batters hitting over .400 — Dalton Dale (.492), Dreiling (.413), Dominic Bainter (.406) and Garrett Wellbrock (.404).
Seaman, which has nine state championships in its program history, reached state with a 7-1 win over Spring Hill in its own regional. The Vikings will take a 12-game winning streak into Thursday and will be competing in their 17th consecutive state tournament.
Dreher said he's looking forward to seeing his team take the field at Eck.
"It's a phenomenal stadium," said Dreher, who's in his first season as head coach at Hays High after last year's canceled season . "To me, I think it's one of the best ones."
Andover Central (21-1) drew the top seed and will play eighth-seeded St. James Academy (9-13) at 11 a.m. Second-seeded Bishop Carroll (21-1) will play Maize South (16-6) at 3:30 p.m., followed by third-seeded Blue Valley Southwest (19-3) against sixth-seeded De Soto (17-5).
The Seaman vs. Hays winner will play the Andover Central vs. St. James winner in Friday's first semifinal at 11 a.m. The title game is set for 5:45 p.m. Friday.