The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

August 14, 2013

Baxter Springs sets eyes on World Series wins

In his research on the Babe Ruth 14-year-old World Series, Baxter Springs coach Shane Dotson said he found that the state of Kansas, as a whole, has won just one game.

Ever.

That was a Pittsburg team in the early 1980s that included future Major League player and minor league manager P.J. Forbes and future Wichita State standout pitcher Pat Cedeno.

Dotson said his Baxter Springs team hopes to at least double the state’s win total starting this weekend. At least.

“We want to at least set the record for wins for Kansas,” Dotson said. “We want to win a couple games and get into the elimination bracket. That’s what we’re working for. We think we have what it takes.”

Baxter Springs leaves tonight for the 14-under World Series in Moses Lake, Wash., and will play its first game on Saturday at 2 p.m. Central time against Jasper, Ind.

After an off day Sunday, the team will face the home team, Moses Lake, on Monday before playing Bryant, Ark., on Tuesday. Clifton Park, N.Y., awaits on Wednesday in the final round of pool play.

The top three teams from each five-team pool advance to Aug. 22’s single-elimination round.

“We need to win our first two games,” Dotson said. “That would be big. We’re going to throw everything we’ve got at them in the first two games.”

That means the team’s two aces — Jarret Dotson and Kaid Karnes — will start the first two games, respectively.

“I always say we don’t have a 1 and 2. Jarret and Kaid are our 1 and 1-A,” Dotson said. “And it doesn’t matter who the 1 is and who the 1-A is. They’re awful good on the mound.”

That duo, along with Nate Thompson, Noah Wilson, Chicago Elias and Matt Miles, make up Baxter’s pitching staff. Elias and Miles, however, haven’t been needed much thus far because of the dominance of the other four.

The group has worked in the offseason with Joplin native Steve Luebber, a former Major League pitcher and current Wilmington Blue Rocks pitching coach.

“He really taught the boys how to pitch,” Dotson said. “He showed them the mental side of the game and how to keep their emotions in check.”

Dotson said the team played USSSA competition during the spring and has been working out together since the fist of the year.

“These kids have been at it since January,” he said. “They’ve played a lot of baseball games and started USSSA ball in March. They’re ready for this.”

The World Series trip is just the latest achievement in Baxter Springs’ long history of baseball accomplishments, including seven state titles at the high school level.

“These young men take great pride in wearing that red Baxter ‘B,’” Dotson said. “They understand the tradition and success and what it means.

“They say tradition doesn’t graduate, it just reloads, and I truly believe that these kids are going to go on and help Baxter Springs get back to the state tournament and win some more titles in high school.”

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