Columbus prepares for first trip to 3A state tournament

The Titans face Sabetha in the first round Thursday.

COLUMBUS, Kan. – The Columbus High School baseball team has done something no other team in program history has done before.

“They’ve played together since they were 5 or 6 years old. They know each other well,” says Columbus head coach Mick Tedlock, “The chemistry with them…it’s just fun to coach.”

The Titans have earned their first ever trip to the 3A state baseball tournament in Manhattan – where they will face Sabetha on Thursday in the first round.

“There’s a lot of focus, but we’re just having fun with it,” says Columbus senior Jaxson Haraughty on preparing for the team’s first ever state tournament appearance, “Coach Tedlock has never made it this far, and none of us have either. We’re having a lot of fun with it. He was saying that his arm was hurting a few days ago because he’s never made it this far,” Haraughty adds with a  laugh, “We’re just having a lot of fun with it, but we’re staying focused and worried about winning games out there.”

“We’ve had a lot of good baseball players come through Columbus, but our league and regional have been so tough,” Tedlock says on making state for the first time, “It’s great…the community support has been so awesome. I have great assistant coaches in Troy Haraughty and Taylor Spear. They help me a lot to keep these kids focused. They’ll be ready.”

Columbus enters the tournament with a 20-2 overall record. Their only two losses were to Girard and Frontenac in the regular season.

Girard has also made the 3A state tournament, and Frontenac finished the season 17-4 overall – so this Columbus team has been battle-tested all spring.

“We have the toughest regional and toughest league in the state, all classes. I’ll say that confidently,” Haraughty says, “It’s tough. Usually the team that wins our regional is playing for a state title or winning a state title, and I don’t think that’s going to be any different this year.”

The Titans are the #3 seed in the tournament, while Sabetha enters as the #6 seed.

“They’re a traditional powerhouse. They’re really the only team in the bracket that has made a lot of noise in a state tournament,” Haraughty adds, “I think we can go out and beat them, we just have to play our ball.”

“They’re a baseball town. They always have been,” Tedlock says of Sabetha, “They play well defensively and they hit the fastball. We’re going to have to go out there and make sure we play our game, like we have been all year.”

Columbus will send right-hander Seth Stover to the mound in game one against Sabetha.

Stover has proven to be one of the best in southeast Kansas this season – and a guy the Titans have leaned on in some big spots throughout the spring.

“The main thing is winning that first one,” Tedlock says, “We’re going to go out with Seth on the mound, that’s no secret…and we’re going to go after it.”

First pitch for Thursday’s game against Sabetha is scheduled for 5:45 PM in Manhattan.