Pratt High lost to Parsons 5-2 in the first round of State Baseball Thursday at Salina.
It wasn’t meant to be this year for the Pratt High School baseball team. Coming in as the #2 seed at 18-2, the Greenbacks lost 5-2 to #7 seed Parsons in the first round of the State Tournament to see their season come to an untimely end.
The game was played Thursday at Salina’s Dean Evans Stadium with a sizeable contingent of Greenback Nation in attendance, the crowd having followed the team up to Salina after a send-off in the PHS parking lot Thursday morning.
The Frogs were confident going into the game, but they could never get on a roll with the bats. Parsons hurler Noah Chalker was around the plate all afternoon, giving up just one walk and setting the Greenbacks down in order in 5 of the 7 innings. Meanwhile, the Vikings got their bats working in the latter half of the game, plating 5 runs over the final 4 frames, and the Frogs just couldn’t hang with them.
The game was scoreless for three innings. PHS starter Grant Bolen got help from his defenders, with Kaden Evert in CF making a particularly good play on a ball in the gap. Bolen also picked off a runner to end a Parsons threat.
Pratt had a chance to jump ahead in the bottom of the third. Wyatt Schrag led off with a single. After two outs, Landen Studer drew a walk and Kaden Evert beat out an infield hit to load the bases. But then the Parsons SS made a nice play on a hard grounder up the middle to deny PHS the chance to break on top.
In the 4th, the Vikings hit some balls hard and had a plethora of baserunners. They got 2 runs out of that mess, but it could have been worse for the Frogs.
Pratt answered in the bottom of the stanza. With one out, Bolen doubled into the LF corner. After another out, Schrag reached on a fielding error. Hunter Huber then blasted a double off the LCF wall to drive in Bolen and Schrag with the tying runs.
But the Vikings put together a nice two-out, two-run rally in the top of 5 to retake the lead. Kaden Evert relieved on the mound for PHS in inning 6, giving up only a rather soft run in the top of the 7th. But it didn’t matter, because Parsons’ Chalker set down the final 9 Greenback batters in order over the final 3 innings to nail down the win. 5-2 Parsons was the final.
“I was proud of the kids,” PHS head coach Ron Hill said. “They battled. They worked hard.”
“We just got outplayed today,” Hill added. “Parsons swung the bats well. Tough way to end the season, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
The defeat marked the final appearance in a Pratt High uniform for seniors Justin Lamatsch, Landen Studer and Noah Tatro. The rest of the roster returns for the Greenbacks next season, however, and the stage might be set for a deeper run into the State Tournament next year.
In the other first round games, it was Garnett 6, Nickerson 5; Iola 4, Wichita Trinity 2; Bishop Ward 5, Rock Creek 4.