The Strykers are State champions for the first time in the team’s seven years of existence.
The Strykers 16U traveling team (8-2-3), based in Waverly, won 10-6 in the championship game over the Briarcliff Red Sox at a USSSA Tournament at 3&2 Baseball Club in Shawnee on Father’s Day. Caden Schwegman chalked up three hits and an RBI; Garrett Fager and Evan Lucke produced two hits apiece; Kendrick Jones put up two hits and an RBI; Gage Guiot and Blake Audiss each racked up a hit and a ribbie; and Kaiden Barnett had a hit and three RBIs. The team registered 12 hits in total.
“It feels great,” Schwegman said. “We started off weak the first day, we weren’t looking too good. But our team came back strong the next day, we put in the work and got it done.”
The team went 3-0 on Sunday and 3-1-1 the entire weekend.
In the championship clincher, starting pitcher Jones struck out five, walked four, and gave up three earned runs and five hits in 2 and 1/3 innings of work. Fager relieved and struck out three, walked none and allowed one earned run and one hit in 1 and 2/3 innings. Ted Skalasky pitched the last two innings, allowing one earned run and two hits in two innings.
Head coach Jeremy Lingenfelter, assistant coach Tim Jones and parents of the traveling team celebrated with players after the eventful win.
“I think it was a lot of relief that we were able to finish through, but everybody was just happy,” Lingenfelter said. “We were kind of expecting it all along, but it was just a good day. A lot of days up there. It was just good that the boys could play that well in front of their dads.”
Sunday’s last game was competitive. With the score tied at four in the top of the fourth, Audiss put the Strykers up for good after singling on a 2-1 count, which brought in a run. Strykers scored three runs in the inning, including a Jones RBI-single off a 2-2 count.
The Strykers got on board in the top of the second when Guiot reached base after hitting a hard ground ball to second, scoring Schwegman to make the score 1-1. In the top of the third, Barnett singled on a line drive to right field, scoring Lucke and Fager. The Strykers went up 3-1.
The big inning was the top of the fourth, when the Strykers were down 4-3. Jones singled to centerfield and brought home Guiot, who stole third. Two batters after Audiss’ RBI-single, Barnett reached on an error, and scored Audiss. This made the score 6-4.
In the top of the sixth, both Schwegman and Jones scored on third base errors, which put the Strykers up 8-5. And the last two runs came in the top of the sixth. Chisolm Woodson grounded into a fielder’s choice and scored Lucke; Schwegman doubled to left field, which allowed Woodson to score.
When Briarcliff, the home team, got the last at-bat, all the Strykers had to do was hold them. The players focused and the game ended without a change in score when Guiot, the catcher, caught a pop foul for the third out.
The final score was 10-6 in the Kansas State High School Championship game.
Woodson, a player from Melvern who has been trying to help his team on both offense and defense, said he was exhilarated after winning the championship on Sunday.
“It was fun. We got to do it on Father’s Day, too, that was the best part about it,” Woodson said. “The team we beat is pretty decent, too. They run-ruled us the first time we played them and then we came back to beat them the second day.”
The Strykers are based out of Waverly and includes players from at least five counties.