Breaking down Sacred Heart

By Cole Manbeck

Sacred Heart enters Friday’s contest against Rock Creek on the heels of seven straight victories. The Knights, who have a strong baseball tradition, are in familiar territory. They won the 2-1A state tournament in 2000 and 2003, while taking third in the 2-1A state tournament last year to finish with a 22-4 record. The Knights took fourth in the 2-1A state tournament in 2009.

Sacred Heart, which won the 3-2-1A state tournament in 1992, has moved back and forth between 3A and 2-1A in recent years. It finished third in the 3A state tourney in 2008, but lost in the first round of the 3A state tournament in 2007.

The Knights, whose senior class has been a part of 68 wins and just 22 losses, enter Friday’s game at 17-6. While their record isn’t as flashy as some of the other teams in the tournament field, Sacred Heart has been challenged by some of the state’s best teams.

Concordia (20-1), the No. 1 seed in this year’s Class 4A state tournament, swept the Knights in a doubleheader this season, but won each game by just one run apiece. Sacred Heart split a series with Trinity Academy in early April, defeating the Eagles 10-5 before losing the second game 15-3. Trinity Academy is the No. 2 seed in this year’s Class 4A tournament. In addition, the Knights were swept by Hays-TMP-Marian (22-1) by scores of 10-5 and 13-10. The Monarchs are the No. 2 seed in the 3A state tourney.

On paper, Sacred Heart’s offense appears to be its strength. The Knights’ pitching staff has allowed 105 runs this season (4.57 runs per game), nearly two more runs per game than Rock Creek has surrendered. But in their three regional games, the Knights allowed just one run total, and over their last seven games leading up to state, they outscored their opponents by a combined margin of 60-15.

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