Baseball team competes at Kauffman

The baseball team faces off against Free State at ODAC. Olathe South takes the field, ready to prevent Free State from scoring any runs. Evan George, senior, takes the mound, communicating with the catcher each pitch. He throws another pitch as player 2 from Free State squares up to bunt. South’s baseball team has an overall record of 11-6 wins to losses this season, despite starting out with a 1-3 record. On April 17 the team also had the oppurtunity to face Olathe East at Kauffman staduim.

Alex Burbidge, Reporter

The varsity baseball team started out their season 1-3, including two season-opening losses in Fayetteville, Ark., but have since been on a torrid run, as their overall record is 11-6 as of May 8 and have been 10-3 since their fifth game. One of those wins came on April 17, when they once again played Olathe East in Kauffman Stadium, home of Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals.

While winning the game 7-5 was exciting in its own right, Josh Perkins, head coach, said that playing at Kauffman Stadium is “the chance of a lifetime” for the players.

“Millions of people go to watch the Royals play and very few actually get to play a game on that field. I have had the ability to play there twice, and it is something I will never forget. Stepping into the same batter’s box that your heroes have stood in is unbelievable,” Perkins said.

Ryan Koval, senior, had two hits in four at-bats and also had an RBI in his second game at the stadium. “It was an unreal experience playing [at Kauffman Stadium.] It’s a blessing that we get the opportunity to play at such an awesome venue,” Koval said.

The team occupied the third base dugout during the game. They were also able to use the left field bullpen beyond the 330 ft. sign, but those are the only areas where they were permitted. In previous years, the indoor batting cages were also accessible, featuring state-of-the-art technology that the Royals use to work with their hitters. Olathe East got the first base dugout and right field bullpen.

Traditionally the three sub-varsity teams would also attend the game, but they had games scheduled. JV played Lawrence-Free State, C team played Shawnee Mission South, and D team had a make-up game vs. Shawnee Mission East. The three teams combined to go 4-2. Many students from both schools also attended the game.

Perkins’ goal for every year is to get every senior on the team a chance to get some playing time in the game. “Sometimes the starting lineup is altered a bit to make that happen, but most of the time I use pinch hitters and relief pitchers to get everyone in.”

The iconic Olathe South vs. Olathe East rivalry was once again on display during the game. Last year’s game at Kauffman Stadium was also against the Hawks. Perkins said, “There is no doubt that our school loves to compete against Olathe East in any sport. Baseball is no different.”

As for the game itself, the team was fueled by a four-run first inning (including the RBI from Koval) to come away with a victory over the Hawks. They were able to add on three more runs in the later innings and held on to win 7-5.

For the most part, the sub-varsity teams have also had good seasons; JV is 8-8, C team finished 14-5 and D team finished their season an undefeated 14-0 and won the city championship.