The Pratt High School baseball team heads to Salina next week on a roll. At 3-5 at one point in the season, the Greenbacks have put together a thirteen game winning streak to propel themselves into the State Tournament with a 16-5 record.
Of his team’s recent success, PHS head coach Pat Stivers said, “This is one of the most complete teams I’ve ever coached—offense, defense… We have been showing great plate discipline. We don’t swing out of the zone. We’ve been working the opposing pitchers.”
PHS closed out the regular season with a sweep of Ulysses out at their place on May 10. Pratt won one game 14-6 in a slugfest in which, strangely, all the runs were scored in the first 4 innings by both clubs.
In the other game, Pratt had a 6-0 lead until the Tigers pushed across a trio of runs late, but it was not enough and the Greenbacks won 6-3 taking both ends of the twin bill to set themselves up for the post-season.
Hosting a first-round regional game at home on Monday, Pratt trailed Russell 4-1 until late. They pushed across a pair in the 5th inning to get close, then struck for a 4-spot in the bottom of the 6th to take the lead. P Skylar Dean shut the Broncos down in the top of the 7th and the Frogs advanced to the semi-finals.
On Wednesday at Hugoton, PHS took on Larned in the semi-finals, pounding out a 10-2 win. Lead-off man Easton Herring scored 3 runs, and had a double and a big fly. Garret Smith also scored 3 times with a single and a pair of 2-baggers. DH Chase Hageman had 3 hits as well as the Greenbacks offense was in high gear.
In the championship game, Pratt took on host Hugoton in what turned out to be a tight, tense match. “It was a great atmosphere,” Coach Stivers said. “The crowd at Hugoton was really loud.”
Easton Herring led off, drawing a BB and scoring the game’s first run on an RBI groundout by Jarod Gilmore. In the 4th, singles by Gilmore and Shane McEachern accounted for Pratt’s 2nd run. Dakota Venard singled and scored in the 5th.
Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the 7th, Hugoton plated a run and had ducks on and the home crowd howling when their final batter popped out to end the threat and Pratt prevailed 3-2 to advance to the State Tournament.
The 4th seed, Pratt will play the #5 seed DeSoto at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday May 23 at Dean Evans Stadium in Salina.