By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
Baxter Springs baseball coach Dusty Karnes is expecting a highly motivated opponent in the first round of the Lions’ 4A regional.
The fifth-seeded Lions (7-10) faces the fourth-seeded Pittsburg Purple Dragons (9-11) at 4 p.m. today in Frontenac. Baxter Springs swept Pittsburg with wins of 10-0 and 6-1 in a doubleheader earlier this season.
“They’ll be fired up,” Karnes said. “They had a rough game. We’ll get the best from them for sure. We’ll need to play our best.”
Baxter Springs will send righty Zach Miller (6-foot-7, 250 pounds) to the mound. Miller, who is 4-5 with a 1.97 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 46 innings, recorded the 10-0 win against the Dragons.
The Lions’ pitching staff boasts a team ERA of 2.74.
“We’ve got pretty good pitching,” Karnes said. “Errors are what have cost us.”
Dallas Hutchinson leads the Lions at the plate with a .377 batting average. Cody Rowe and Derek Barnes have been the top run producers with 14 and 11 RBI, respectively.
Baxter Springs faces a competitive 4A regional with reigning Class 3A state champion Frontenac (18-0) earning the top seed.
The Raiders will play at 6 p.m. at Frontenac against the 2 p.m. winner of Girard (2-16) and Parsons (1-15). The rest of the 4A regional will play at Altamont with Labette County (11-7) against Columbus (4-14) at 3 p.m. and Coffeyville (9-7) against Independence (5-9) at 5 p.m. The semifinals and championship will be played Wednesday in Altamont.
Frontenac also owns the No. 1 seed in its 4A softball regional. The Raiders (17-1) will play at 4:45 p.m. today in Chanute against the 3 p.m. winner of Iola (4-11) and Parsons (3-13). Baxter Springs (12-6) plays Chanute (10-6) at 6:30 p.m. today in Chanute.
The 4A softball regional also will include two first-round games at Fort Scott. Girard (12-4) faces Columbus (7-9) at 4 p.m. today, and Fort Scott (13-3) and Pittsburg (6-14) will follow at 5:45 p.m. The semifinals and championship will be played Wednesday at Chanute.
Fourth-seeded Riverton (11-7) hosts fifth-seeded Galena (11-9) in the first round of a 3A softball regional at 5:30 p.m. today. Jayhawk-Linn (16-2) owns the top seed in the regional that will conclude Tuesday in Pittsburg.