Crest romps its way back to state

Crest High's Lancers earned their third trip to the Class 2-1A State Baseball Tournament in four years Monday with a regional championship victory. This time, the Lancers did so with a largely retooled starting lineup.

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May 14, 2024 - 12:53 PM

Crest High’s players surround senior Rogan Weir after Weir’s three-run home run broke open a 10-3 win over Southern Lyon County to secure a Class 2-1A regional championship and berth in next week’s state tournament. Photo by LeAnn Church

RICHMOND — Coach Roland Weir’s challenge Monday was simple.

He asked his Crest High players to think back 12 months, to a heart-breaking loss in last season’s regional championship, when the Lancers were deprived of a third consecutive trip to the Class 2-1A State Tournament. 

“Do you want that two years in a row?” he asked.

Fast forward to Monday, when the Lancers — with a largely rebuilt lineup this year due to graduation — struggled early before pulling away late in their semifinal to topple Central Heights, 18-8, to set up a championship showdown with Southern Lyon County.

It was perhaps fitting that Crest’s Rogan Weir, one of the few holdovers from the previous powerhouse Lancer squads, had the two big blows, a three-run home run and a two-run triple as Crest punched its ticket back to state with a 10-3 win.

“Our big players made big plays when it mattered most, but this was a total team effort,” Coach Weir said. “Our pitching wasn’t great, but it was good. We struggled at times, but we didn’t give up.”

And now, Crest is state bound for the Class 2-1A Tournament in Great Bend May 23-24 for the third time in the past four seasons.

WHILE ANY trip to a state tournament is special, this year’s Lancer squad did so after bidding adieu to a decorated senior class that sent four players off to college teams across the state.

And with a loaded schedule that gave Crest more losses this year than in the past three seasons combined, it would be fair to assume Crest would take a step back.

The Lancers’ head coach knew otherwise.

“The last couple of years were really good,” Coach Weir said. “We had nice pieces up and down the lineup and lots of depth with kids off the bench who could play.” And while Crest doesn’t have that same depth, “I knew we had nine core guys who could play. I knew what they’re capable of doing. We just had to keep the faith.”

CREST entered Monday having won its regional opener in dominant, but sloppy, fashion last week against Northern Heights.

After a couple of extended practices — geared to get the players in the right frame of mind as much as anything — Crest entered Monday’s action with renewed vigor.

But not immediately.

A pair of fielding errors in the top of the first allowed Pleasanton to load the bases before Lancer pitcher Jerry Rodriguez slammed the door with a strikeout.

But after Drake Weir’s two-run single staked Crest to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the inning, Pleasanton erupted in the top of the second, scoring seven times to seize the upper hand.

Crest methodically climbed back into the game. Rogan Weir reached on an error in the bottom of the second as a run crossed the plate. Ryan Golden, another holdover from last year’s starting lineup, followed with a sacrifice fly, making it 7-4.

Kade Nilges walked to lead off the third inning, moved to third on an error and scored on a passed ball to make it 7-5 before Logan Kistner ripped a two-run double to tie the score. 

The fun continued in the fourth. Drake Weir and Nilges reached base to start the inning. Both came around on fielding miscues to give the Lancers the lead for good.

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