Lancer run ends at state

After making it to the Class 2-1A State Tournament for the third time in four years, the Lancers fell to defending state champions Colgan.

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May 24, 2024 - 4:30 PM

Crest High's Rogan Weir, right, attempts to tag Pittsburg-St. Mary's Colgan baserunner Carston Simmons Thursday during the Class 2-1A State Baseball Tournament. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

GREAT BEND — One of the most remarkable small-school runs in Kansas baseball history came to an end for Crest High School’s Class of 2024 Thursday.

The Lancers, despite sporting a nearly completely different starting lineup from a year ago, had made it to the Class 2-1A State Tournament for the third time in four years.

But in their way stood Pittsburg’s St. Mary’s Colgan, who defeated the Lancers 10-1.

As the defending state champions, Colgan is the favorite to win it all again this year.

Crest had the early advantage with Ryan Golden’s RBI single in the top of the first inning.

But Colgan responded with a four-run second inning to take the lead for good. The Panthers shut down Crest’s offense from there, and tacked on five in the bottom of the sixth to secure the win.

“We didn’t hit well enough, and we gave them some free passes,” Lancer head coach Roland Weir said. “And they had some big hits when they needed to. We just didn’t have an answer.

“It’s a big disappointment for these five,” Weir said of Crest’s seniors, Golden, Brayden Goodell, Logan Kistner, Jerry Rodriguez and Rogan Weir, Coach Weir’s son.

Crest High’s Ryan Golden delivers an RBI single against St. Mary’s Colgan Thursday.Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

“They’ve had a great career. I’m sad to see them go, sad to see them go out like this.”

Of the five, Rogan Weir and Golden were the only two who had started regularly on the previous juggernaut Lancer squads that had advanced to the state tournament in 2021 and 2022.

But even after losing past seniors to graduation, including four from last season who have gone on to play collegiately, Coach Weir knew this year’s seniors would remain the nucleus of something special.

“I never thought there’d be a hiccup,” he said. “I knew we had a lot left in the tank. We have five great seniors, and some talented kids below them.

“The ones who haven’t started until this year made the most out of their opportunity.”

Logan Kistner of Cost High attempts to tag St. Mary’s Colgan baserunner Carston Simmons Thursday.Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

KISTNER got things started for Crest with a one-out walk in the top of the first. He moved up to second on a wild pitch and scored when Golden ripped a hard grounder through the left side with two outs.

Starting pitcher Drake Weir then worked out of trouble in the bottom of the inning when he struck out Colgan’s Kysen Bennett with runners on second and third.

But Crest had a runner thrown out at  third to end the top of the second, setting the stage for Colgan’s first big rally of the night.

Tristan Voss opened the second with a triple and scored on Jack Schremmer’s single to tie the score. Gus Keller’s two-out triple pushed Colgan on top, and he scored on Cooper Simmons’s RBI single. A walk and single followed, making it 4-1.

Voss opened the third with a single before courtesy runner Brady Bettega scored on a wild pitch, making it 5-1.

Bennett, the Panthers’ starting pitcher, had found his groove by then, preventing any more hits until Jensen Barker singled in the top of the fifth. Rodriguez followed with a one-out walk, but Bennett ended the rally with a pair of strikeouts.

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