From staff reports
MANHATTAN, Kan. —
It didn’t take long for the St. Mary’s-Colgan Panthers to make some noise in Class 3A.
Playing in their first 3A state baseball tournament since being made into a class of its own, the Panthers opened with a 15-1 win over Lyons on Thursday at Kansas State’s Tointon Family Stadium.
Colgan (18-5) will face the top-seeded Wichita Independent Panthers (23-1) at 11 a.m. today in the semifinals. The winner will play at 6:30 p.m. today for the state championship, and the loser will be in the third-place game at 4.
“I was very, very pleased with how the kids played,” Colgan coach Mike Watt said. “We had a lot of kids contribute ... It always helps to break out to a big lead.”
Colgan took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first after Nate Grimaldi singled, Colton Gilbert bunted for a hit and Christian Cedeno belted a two-run double. Cedeno later scored on a passed ball.
The Panthers picked up two more runs in the second when Tully Yoakum reached on an error, Grimaldi hit an RBI double and Cedeno hit a sacrifice fly to right field.
Grimaldi, Colgan’s leadoff hitter, was 3-for-4 with an RBI and four runs scored. Christian Cedeno was 2-for-3 with five RBI and two runs scored, and Ryan Cedeno was 2-for-5 with three RBI and one run scored. V.J. Piccini was 2-for-5 with one RBI.
Christian Cedeno was equally effective on the mound, allowing only one run and three hits over five innings. Drew Dawson pitched two shutout innings of relief.
Colgan plans to start Piccini today and could use Cedeno in the second game or in relief of both.
“Christian has seven innings available to pitch,” Watt said. “I’m not expecting him to throw seven innings, but he could come in and close both games. That would be an ideal situation.”
Watt said his team was able to watch Independent’s 6-3 win over Wellsville on Thursday morning.
“They’re a lot like us,” Watt said. “They’re very fundamental. They don’t make a lot of mistakes. We’ll have to play well to beat them.”
Colgan, a perennial 2-1A contender, moved to 3A last season but was eliminated in the regional by Frontenac. The Panthers won a 3-1A state championship in 1993.