Sabetha baseball team earns state championship in second season

The Sabetha baseball team celebrates following their championship win on Friday, May 25.

After only two seasons of high school baseball, the Sabetha Bluejays have claimed the top spot after winning the 3A State Championship on Friday, May 25, in Manhattan.

The Bluejays were seeded number seven in the eight-team tournament, but where they were seeded did not stop them from defeating Cherokee-Southeast 12-4 in the first round, Marion/Lost Springs 9-4 in the semi-finals, and Hays-TMP 10-5 in the championship game.

After winning the 3A State Championship and finishing their season with a 23-3 record, senior players said the experience was “surreal.”

“It feels like a dream,” senior Brett Stallbaumer said. “It’s something you always think about happening.”

Senior Preston Bruning agreed with him, saying that playing with the same guys helped win the championship.

“It feels surreal winning the championship,” he said. “All the years playing with the same guys definitely paid off in the long run.”

Senior Seth Burdick said winning the championship has been a wild ride and agrees with Bruning.

“Just playing with these guys that I have been playing with for 10 years and with it being our senior year has been the best part.”

Senior Brandon Brownlee felt the same, saying it feels amazing.

“It feels absolutely amazing,” he said. “Playing legion ball for four years prepared us for this run. It feels amazing to be able to give a championship back to the Keim family for everything they have given us.”

Although most of the seniors have played baseball together for multiple years, their success didn’t come just from being familiar with each other. The team’s mentality of “We Greater Than Me” had a lot to do with it.

“The reason we were so successful would be because our team isn’t selfish,” said senior Brayden Becker. “We cared more for each other and the team before ourselves. I think that speaks very highly of our team. Our motto was ‘We Greater Than Me,’ and that’s how every game was played. We went out giving everything we could for the team.”

Senior Riley Herrmann agreed, saying the team comes first, not individual stats.

While the mentality of the team was part of the success, the coaching staff helped shape them and taught them to play the best baseball they could.

“Another reason for our team’s success is because of our coaching staff,” Becker said. “I can’t thank our coaches enough for preparing us for each and every game. They brought out the best in us and made everyone preform to the best of their abilities.”

“The coaches put a lot of time and effort into making us the baseball players we are,” Herrmann said.

Brownlee agreed, saying the coaches made a huge impact on their success

“So much credit goes to our coaches who took us from a better than average team to an elite team with a big dream,” he said.

Even though the team went into the State Tournament as the number seven seed, the team knew they were better than that and didn’t let the seeding affect the way they played.

“We went in to the tournament as the seventh seed,” Becker said. “Now we as a team knew that we’re far better then that. So it was an incredible feeling beating the one, two, and three seed at state. We went out and played the best baseball we have ever played.”

“I felt we all knew of the success we were going to have since the first day of practice,” Bruning said. “The season was a huge accomplishment.”

When asked how it felt to win a state championship with the high school program being in its second year, Becker said that it felt amazing.

“Winning a state championship is a pretty amazing feeling,” he said. “It feels so good knowing that all the hard work you put in pays off. We have all wanted high school baseball for a long time, and this shows that it’s been long overdue.”

As for the program moving forward, Stallbaumer and Herrmann said they both hope the 2018 team’s success has helped set a foundation for the program moving forward.

“It was great to have the success early,” Stallbaumer said.

The Sabetha High School baseball team celebrates their 3A State Championship win on Friday, May 25. Pictured are FRONT ROW (L-R) Manager Trenton Wisdom, Blake Frey, Riley Herrmann, Brett Stallbaumer, Seth Burdick, Brandon Brownlee, Preston Bruning, Brayden Becker and Trevor Kramer; BACK ROW (L-R) Assistant Coach Garrett Michael, Head Coach Aaron Frey, Jake Longabaugh, Gabe Garber, Joe Gruber, Ryan Stapleton, Kamden Brownlee, Braden Argabright, Mason Spellmeier, Braden Mitchell, Manager Josh Compo and Assistant Coach Doug Garrett.

Game Recaps

Sabetha took on Cherokee-Southeast in the opening round of the 3A State Tournament on Thursday, May 24.

The Bluejays and Southeast matched run for run through the first two innings, and both teams remained scoreless in the third. In the fourth, the Bluejays pulled away — scoring four runs. They then maintained their lead to gain their first win in the tournament by a score of 12-4.

Sabetha tallied 12 hits on the day, while Southeast only tallied six. The Bluejays were led by sophomore Gabe Garber and senior Brett Stallbaumer, who each went three for four at the plate. Garber hit a double and triple during the game, driving in four runs. Senior Preston Bruning also tallied three RBIs for the day.

Senior Brayden Becker started on the mound for Sabetha. He threw 6-2/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits, while recording nine strikeouts. Senior Trevor Kramer came in on relief to take on the last batter.

Sabetha took on Marion/Lost Springs in the semi-final game on Friday, May 25. The Bluejays started immediately, scoring one run in the first after Garber brought home junior Joe Gruber on an RBI-single.

Marion tied things up in the third — scoring one run, but Sabetha got the bats going in the fifth, scoring eight runs on eight hits. Sophomore Braden Argabright and senior Riley Herrmann each collected two hits in the inning.

Sabetha remained scoreless for the rest of the game, but the Bluejay defense held Marion to only three additional runs. Sabetha would win 9-4, which earned them their spot in the championship game.

Garber went two for three during the game, while tallying two RBIs and one run scored. Argabright also went two for three with two runs score and an RBI, while Herrmann also went two for three, but tallied two RBIs and one run scored.

Kramer threw the first 4-1/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits. Gruber stepped in on relief and pitched the final 2-2/3 innings. He allowed just one hit, while striking out two.

Sabetha took on Hays-TMP in the championship game. The jumped out to a quick lead — scoring three runs in the first inning, while Hays-TMP scored just one run in the first.

Sabetha’s offense picked up speed in the second, scoring an additional four runs on two hits. One hit in the second was a three-RBI triple by Garber. The Bluejays then scored one more run in the third and two more in the fourth.

Hays-TMP tried to come back scoring two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings, but Sabetha held them off and would claim the championship game with a 10-5 win.

Argabright started on the mound for the Bluejays — throwing 4-1/3 innings. Gruber came in on relief — throwing the final 2-2/3 innings. He gave up two runs on one hit, while striking out two batters and walking three.

State vs.Southeast

#

Player Name

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

32

Gabe Garber

4

2

3

4

1

0

8

Blake Frey

4

3

2

1

1

0

23

Joe Gruber

3

2

0

0

2

0

13

Seth Burdick

4

1

0

1

1

0

7

Preston Bruning

4

0

1

3

0

1

2

Brett Stallbaumer

4

1

3

0

0

0

35

Braden Argabright

2

0

0

0

0

1

4

Riley Herrmann

4

2

2

1

0

0

12

Mason Spellmeier

0

1

0

0

0

0

6

Brandon Brownlee

4

0

1

2

1

1

Sabetha

1-3-0-4-4-0-0 | 12-12-0

Opponent

1-3-0-0-0-0-0 | 4-6-2

Game 1 Pitching

Name

IP

#P

S%

H

R

ER

SO

BB

HR

Trevor Kramer

0.1

2

0.500

0

0

0

0

0

0

Brayden Becker

6.2

106

0.632

6

4

4

9

4

0

 

Statevs.Marion/Lost Springs

#

Player Name

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

32

Gabe Garber

3

1

2

3

0

0

8

Blake Frey

3

1

0

1

0

1

23

Joe Gruber

3

2

2

0

1

0

13

Seth Burdick

4

0

0

0

0

1

7

Preston Bruning

3

1

1

1

1

0

2

Brett Stallbaumer

3

1

1

0

1

0

35

Braden Argabright

3

2

2

1

0

0

4

Riley Herrmann

3

1

2

2

0

0

6

Brandon Brownlee

3

0

0

0

1

1

Sabetha

1-0-0-0-8-0-0 | 9-9-1

Marion

0-0-1-0-3-0-0 | 4-7-2

Game 1 Pitching

Name

IP

#P

S%

H

R

ER

SO

BB

HR

Joe Gruber

2.1

33

0.576

1

0

0

2

1

0

Trevor Kramer

4.2

69

0.681

6

4

4

2

2

0

 

State vs.Hays-TMP

#

Player Name

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

32

Gabe Garber

4

3

3

4

0

0

8

Blake Frey

3

1

0

0

1

1

23

Joe Gruber

4

2

2

0

1

1

13

Seth Burdick

4

0

2

2

0

1

7

Preston Bruning

4

1

1

1

0

0

2

Brett Stallbaumer

4

0

0

0

0

0

35

Braden Argabright

3

0

1

0

1

0

4

Riley Herrmann

3

1

1

1

1

0

12

Mason Spellmeier

0

1

0

0

0

0

3

Ryan Stapleton

0

1

0

0

0

0

6

Brandon Brownlee

3

0

1

2

0

2

Sabetha

3-4-1-2-0-0-0 | 10-10-4

Hays-TMP

1-0-0-0-2-2-0 | 5-5-4

Game 1 Pitching

Name

IP

#P

S%

H

R

ER

SO

BB

HR

Joe Gruber

2.2

59

0.525

2

2

2

2

3

0

Braden Argabright

4.1

101

0.574

4

3

1

3

6

0

Heather Stewart289 Posts

Heather Stewart is a reporter for The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2015. She specializes in court and sports reporting, as well as photography. Heather is a 2011 Kansas State University graduate with a degree in psychology. She lives in Sabetha with her husband.

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