Lancers to open state tourney against defending champs

Crest High's Lancers will take on defending state champion St. Mary's Colgan to open the Class 2-1A State Baseball Tournament Thursday in Great Bend. The Lancers defeated Colgan at state in 2022, but have a much different starting lineup in their upcoming showdown.

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Sports

May 17, 2024 - 12:38 PM

Crest High's Roy Gordon rounds second base during the Class 2-1A Regional Tournament. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

COLONY — Talk about a primetime opening act.

Crest High’s Lancers, embarking on their third trip to the Class 2-1A State Baseball Tournament in the past four years, will open with a showdown against the defending state champions.

Crest (20-7) will take on Pittsburg’s St. Mary’s Colgan Panthers at 5:45 p.m. Thursday at the Great Bend Sports Complex.

If that foe sounds familiar, it should.

Thursday will mark the second time in three years that Crest and Colgan have faced off at state. In 2022, the Lancers eliminated Colgan in the first round with a 5-3 victory, on the way to the Lancers’ fourth-place finish.

The Panthers rebounded nicely, steamrolling their way to a state title last May as the eighth seed. Meanwhile, Crest was denied a shot at state with a loss in the regional championship game.

Since then, a largely rebuilt Lancer starting lineup has again rose to the top of the Three Rivers League and cruised through the 2024 regional playoffs, winning their three playoff games by an average of eight runs.

Colgan, currently ranked No. 1 in 2-1A, continued its tradition of playing one of the toughest schedules in the state as part of the rugged CNC League. 

The Panthers, nevertheless, are riding a 15-game winning streak into the upcoming showdown, outscoring its three regional opponents by a combined 31-0. 

THERE’S plenty of other firepower to contend with, should the Lancers get past Colgan.

Top seed Mission Valley brings a 22-3 record into its first-round game against Pratt Skyline (13-10) and looms as a second-round opponent for the Crest-Colgan winner.

On the other side of the bracket, Marion holds the No. 2 seed and will face perennial power Thomas More Prep, with the winner advancing to face either No. 3 Valley Falls or Medicine Lodge.

The tournament semifinal, third-place and championship games will follow on Friday.

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