SM Northwest, St. James Academy ready for showdown on Friday in Lawrence
LAWRENCE—Pitching proved to be the theme for both local schools competing on the first day of the River City Baseball Festival at Lawrence High School.
In the afternoon matchup, it was a duel between two quality pitchers showing off some stuff that even had the dozen major league scouts on hand in amazement.
The Shawnee Mission Northwest baseball team has been consistent hitters throughout this year, but might have ran into one of the best pitching prospects in the local area has seen with senior Collin Wiles for Blue Valley West.
Wiles mowed down the Cougars lineup allowing only two hits while striking out 17 batters, including 11 of the last 12 in Blue Valley West’s 1-0 win over SM Northwest.
At points throughout the game, Wiles hit 89 on a variety of the radar guns pointed his way by scouts, but his spot-on location is what had scouts and spectators alike drooling.
He’s the best kid we’ve seen all year by far, but 1-0 it could of gone either way,” SM Northwest coach Rich Kuzydym said. “You never know. Those are games that you enjoy and coaching with your players.”
SM Northwest’s senior pitcher Ty Thompson put together what he called his best performance of the year allowing only one unearned run in his six innings of work that included one walk and nine strikeouts.
“I couldn’t ask for much more,” Thompson said. “I did well, but just couldn’t come out on top this time.”
The Cougars attempted to make a late charge when its senior first baseman ripped a triple into the right filed gap with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Unfortunately for Northwest, Wiles struck out Thompson swinging to end the game.
“He manages his curve ball very well. He can pinpoint every time,” Thompson said. “We had no clue what was coming at us.”
Thompson also faced Wiles at the plate three times Thursday and was a strikeout victim twice.
Matchup between SM Northwest, St. James Academy on deck Friday
In the first matchup, St. James Academy junior Jansen Keyes showed off another stellar performance just like last Saturday. The only difference was the walks were missing.
Keyes put together a solid performance going five innings with five strikeouts and only one walk to his name in the St. James 9-1 victory over Leavenworth.
But getting the ball over the plate was the big factor for Keyes.
“Throwing a lot of strikes and letting them hit it to the defense, just letting them make plays,” Keyes said.
For a good portion of the game, St. James was hitting Leavenworth starter sophomore James Gladieux well, but the Thunder broke open the game when they batted around in the fifth inning.
A string of hits resulted in seven runs and St. James taking an 8-0 lead into the last two innings.
Although the Pioneers grabbed one run, they never came close to the Thunder, who brought in junior Ryan McCourt for the final two innings.
SM Northwest and St. James will face off at 12:30 p.m. on Friday at Hogland Park on the Kansas University Campus.