By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
GREENFIELD, Mo. - Greenfield, which was denied a berth in the 2005 Class 1 semifinals by eventual champion Plato, has returned to the postseason with a hungry cast of veterans.
The Wildcats (17-7) call on Stoutland (12-9) at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the sectional round.
Greenfield eliminated Crocker 5-1 at this juncture last season before falling 7-1 to Plato.
Stoutland is different than Greenfield with just one senior - designated hitter Drew Thomas - scheduled to start on Wednesday. The Tigers likely will have 6 sophomores, 2 juniors and 1 freshman.
Stoutland coach Scott White plans to select its starting pitcher from two sophomore right-handers - Cory Kyle (6-2) and Josh White (0-3).
Kyle, who also plays shortstop, is the Tigers' No. 1 batsman with a .542 average.
Sophomore third baseman Adam Smith and sophomore center fielder Tyler Wrinkle are averaging .439 and .368, respectively.
Said Greenfield coach Matt Schubert: "Pitching and defense appear as their strengths. No. 5 (Kyle) is a solid pitcher."
Schubert, who's in his second year as head coach, plans to start senior right-hander Sam Pirtle on the mound.
Pirtle, who's signed with Drury University, is 9-1 with a 0.64 earned run average. He's struck out 118 and walked 28 in 72 1/3 innings. He's averaging .345 at the plate with 11 doubles, 4 home runs and 31 runs batted in.
No. 4 hitter Nathan Helvey, another senior, is averaging .342 with 8 doubles, 8 homers and 30 RBI. Senior shortstop Ben Poirot is adding a .353 average and 19 stolen bases. Junior center fielder Alex Morris is hitting .408 with 20 RBI.
"We're starting to hit the ball better than we have all season," Schubert said.
The probable Greenfield order is Poirot, senior right fielder Tye Killingsworth, Pirtle, Helvey, senior third baseman Josh Munton, junior catcher Zach Bunter, Morris, senior left fielder Jordan Walker and junior DH Eric Faust (for junior second baseman Lance Westpfahl).
Walker and Faust are the only players new to the lineup, Schubert said.
The Greenfield-Stoutland winner faces Plato or Crane in the quarterfinals.
Schubert, a graduate of Mount Vernon High School (1998) and Baker University, Baldwin City, Kan., is returning to Kansas for the 2006-07 campaign. He's landed the head baseball post at Class 4A Perry-Lecompton near Lawrence.
By Anvil Welch