Hays baseball grabs third place
WICHITA — After seeing a rally fall short in Friday's Class 5A baseball semifinal against Andover Central, the Hays High baseball team was in no mood to sulk in its defeat.
Instead, Hays focused on ending an outstanding season on a high note, bouncing back for a 11-2 win against Maize South on Friday at Eck Stadium.
The Indians finished with a 19-4 record.
"(After the semifinal loss) we talked to the kids about how just being here is a special thing," Hays High coach Dustin Dreher said. "It's been (since 2000) that the Hays High Indians have stepped on the field on a Friday in a state tournament.
"We didn't get it done in the first game, but we don't want to lose, whether you're playing for first, fifth or 10th. If you're playing, you're playing to win. And I thought the kids took that attitude onto the field."
In the third-place game, Hays junior Garrett Wellbrock tossed a complete game, giving up just one earned run.
"He battled," Dreher said. "It was kind of like his regional game. It seemed like there were a lot of baserunners and he always made big-time pitches with runners on base. To be able to finish under the pitch count, that was huge for him. We had a sophomore warming up in the bullpen and we didn't have to use him because Garrett threw such a great game for us."
Hays junior Dylan Dreiling tossed a gem in the Indians' state-opening 6-2 win over Topeka Seaman. He was locked in all tournament at the plate, finishing with six hits. He had a 3-run homer in the Indians' 6-4 loss to Andover Central.
"Every time he swung he was on barrel," Dreher said. "So proud of him, the way he competes on the mound and at the plate."
Dreiling tied the school record for wins in a season by a pitcher, going 9-0, and he set the Indians' record for lowest ERA in a season at 0.52.
"He's got a great shot at player of the year in Kansas for his dual effort," Dreher said of Dreiling. "I don't know if people will believe this, but he's going to come back next year even better."
In the semifinal, the Indians gave up a five-run frame in the second inning against Andover Central. Dreiling's homer brought Hays within two in the fifth but Hays could get no closer.
"One inning killed us," Dreher said. "We didn't throw strikes early and after that they kind of got a little confidence and had some big hits there toward the end of the inning to get that 5 spot."
Carson Spray took the loss in semifinal, going 1 2/3 innings before Dalton Dale went 4 2/3 innings, allowing just one run.
In the opener, the Indians got two runs off a throwing error in top of the first. Seaman answered with a run in the bottom of the frame, but Hays put up three more runs in the second.
"I feel like we got a lot of guys that haven't played in a lot of big games yet for this team," Dreiling said. "Coming out they were nervous, but those runs really helped us."
Dreiling, a University of a Tennessee commit, went 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits. He struck out six while walking five.
Dreiling entered the sixth inning at 104 pitches, allowing him to face one more batter before reaching the limit. He coaxed a pop-up to get Seaman's leadoff hitter before being replaced by Dalton Dale on the mound. Dale issued a one-out walk before a diving catch in right field by Ben Krannawitter and a fielder's choice groundout to second ended the game.
The game was delayed about 30 minutes by rain in the top of the fifth.
"I kind of lost my control coming out for the rain delay, but I got on the job done, minimized the damage," Dreiling said. "It could have got really ugly really fast, and I thought it minimized pretty well."
Dalton Dale led the team with a .463 batting average and Dreiling hit .427 for the season.
Dreher said it was a great feeling to see his five seniors — Ben Krannawitter, Remington Cox, Dalyn Schwarz, Dominic Bainter and Dawson Vonfeldt — end their careers on a strong note.
"It was great for those guys to come back to get to have this experience after missing out on a full season last year," Dreher said. "There's some good teams out there in 5A.
"I'm so happy for those guys. It's a fun group. Not only are they good ballplayers but they're great kids."