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Friday
August 23rd, 2019

nbc world series high resBy EARL WATT

Leader & Times

For thousands of players in leagues across the United States, the hopes of reaching Wichita to play in the NBC World Series is a bit like taking a final exam.

How much did you improve this summer? Have you garnered the attention of the Major League scouts? Will you be a more valuable player to your college team next season?

There is a lot riding on summer ball beyond the towns where these players take up residency for a summer.

A number of programs have become synonymous with the NBC World Series, and several are making a return trip to the Air Capital for Championship Week.

Santa Barbara has owned the tournament in recent years, winning five of the last eight national titles and seven overall.

The Seattle Studs come back to Wichita with an impressive resume of their own having won the tournament in 2013 and 2015.

The Liberal Bee Jays also bring a long and storied past to the NBC World Series. Liberal has five national championships to its credit to go along with seven second-place finishes for a total of 12 appearances in the championship game.

A quick glance at the pools show tournament organizers might have been looking ahead to a possible title rematch between the Studs and the Foresters just like 2014. Both are in pools that, should both sweep their pools, would leave them from facing each other until a possible final.

If history is any indication, both would be favorites in their pools.

But that doesn’t always mean much at the NBC World Series. 

A few years ago, the Bee Jays snuck in to the national tournament receiving the final at-large bid only to face one of the top contenders in the first game, and the Bee Jays won.

That goes with the old adage, “that’s why you play the game.”

This is the first year since 1976 that the Jayhawk League is no longer part of the NBC World series, but the teams from the former conference continued to represent. Former Jayhawk League teams including Derby, Wellington, Hays, Great Bend, Dodge City, Haysville and Liberal earned invitations albeit they are now members of two separate leagues.

So far, those teams are a combined 10-7 in First Week action. Liberal, the Kansas Cannons and Haysville have yet to play in Championship Week.

The tournament appears to be very competitive if First Week is any indication. All Hays needed during the regular season was for Liberal to lose one of the final two games against Dodge City to be the Jayhawk Conference champions, but when Liberal won both, that sent Hays to the Kansas Collegiate League post-season tournament to try and earn a bid, which they did. But Hays was eliminated Wednesday night with a 9-7 loss to Derby, a former member of the Jayhawk League who finished 19-17 and in fourth place in the final year of the Jayhawk League in 2018.

In the other First Week qualifier game, Great Bend crushed the Hutchinson Monarchs 24-10.

Last year, Great Bend finished its last year in the Jayhawk League with a 12-23 record, and now they are in Championship Week.

Today, pool play begins, and tournament organizers have done a masterful job of providing key first-round match-ups.

Six of the 16 teams come from Kansas, and the match-ups will feature some new faces along with some of the traditional powerhouses.

This is what summer ball is all about.

 

CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK

POOL A

Cheney Diamond Dawgs 0-0

San Diego Waves 0-0

Seattle Studs 0-0

Texas Express 0-0

 

POOL B

Great Bend Bat Cats 0-0

Game Day, Colo., Saints 0-0

Haysville Aviators 0-0

Sants Barbara Foresters 0-0

 

POOL C

Colorado Cyclones 0-0

Fairbanks, Alaska, Goldpanners 0-0

Kansas Cannons 0-0

San Antonio Angels 0-0

POOL D

Derby Twins 0-0

Liberal Bee Jays 0-0

Lonestar Baseball Club 0-0

San Diego Stars 0-0

 

Thursday

1 p.m. San Diego Waves vs. Texas Express

3:30 p.m. Kansas Cannons vs. San Antonio Angels

7 p.m. Seattle Studs vs. Cheney Diamond Dawgs

9:30 p.m. Colorado Cyclones vs. Fairbanks Goldpanners

 

Friday

1 p.m. Great Bend Bat Cats vs. Game Day Saints

3:30 p.m. Derby Twins vs. Lonestar Baseball Club

7 p.m. Santa Barbara Foresters vs. Haysville Aviators

9:30 p.m. Liberal Bee Jays vs. San Diego Stars

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