Prep Baseball Report

2024 KSHSAA State Tournament Preview: 6A

By: Eliott Wilk
Central Region Operations Director

Regionals week is over and the 2024 KSHSAA State Tournaments are set to start Thursday, May 22nd, for all classes. 

Over the next few days, our staff will be previewing the tournaments for 5A and 6A. Below you’ll learn more about the 6A tournament at Hoglund Ballpark in Lawrence. As always, this tournament promises to be one of the more entertaining ones in the state, where all eight teams have a legitimate shot at taking home the title and there could be upsets at any given time.

+ Olathe West (27-1) came out of the gates hot at the beginning of the season and never looked back, running roughshod through one of the toughest leagues in the state in the Sunflower League, and finishing the season at No. 1 in our "Power 25" rankings. One of the most complete teams in the state, the Owls get it done on both sides of the ball. The Owls' pitching staff, lead by some of the top arms in the state in Jack Dilley (2024; Barton CC), Ty Miller (2025; Nebraska), Max Hamilton (2026), and Treyton DesLauriers (2025; Central Missouri), posted a insane 1.28 team ERA on the year while the offense was led by strong seasons from Cameron Carter (2024), Roy Roseman (2026), and Micah McGavran (2025). After shutting out Blue Valley Northwest and Shawnee Mission North on their way through regionals, Olathe West looks primed to make a run at the 6A state title.

+ Sporting one of the older and more experienced lineups in the state, Wichita Heights (22-5) coasted their way through regionals posting 13-3 and 9-2 wins over Wichita North and Wichita Northwest respectively to punch their ticket to Lawrence. A battle-tested and gritty lineup full of upperclassmen such as Brady Boomsma (2025), Cooper Oakley (2024), and Jackson Ellison (2024), the Falcons know how to get the job done at the plate by whatever means necessary. Wichita Heights has already posted big wins over Blue Valley West, Lawrence Free State, and a doubleheader sweep over Bishop Carroll this year and are not backing down from sending more teams home this postseason. 

+ After shutouts against Olathe North and Mill Valley, Blue Valley West (22-5) is back in Lawrence again this year after winning back-to-back 6A state titles the last two years. Sporting a deep pitching staff including the likes of Christian Ryan (2025) and James Hunt (2026) and a potent offense lead by seniors Eli Lovich (2024; Arkansas), Samuel Dew (2024), Anthony Alvarez (2024; Wichita State), and Jaden Rose (2024; Butler CC), the Jaguars have the pieces to make some noise and run it back again this year.

+ Topeka (17-4) is back in Lawrence for the second straight year after beating Wichita East and Derby in their regional. Centennial League co-player of the year Nathan Plankinton (2024; Kansas City Kansas CC) has been downright dominant on the mound for the Trojans this spring, posting a 10-0 record with only one earned run on the year over 54 innings pitched. At the plate the Trojans have been sparked by strong play from Drayden Acosta (2026), Matthew Genrich (2024; Cloud County CC) and Isaiah Kincade (2024) who look to help the fourth seeded Trojans play spoilers to someone's season.

+ Lawrence Free State (21-6) has been one of the most consistent programs in the state over the past couple of years and this year's team might just be the most balanced one of them all. The Firebirds lineup is one that can hurt you from top to bottom, featuring quality bats in Kyle Graves (2024; Barton CC), Ben Graves (2026), Mason Lester (2024), and Ryker Mahnke (2027) who will pick apart a pitching staff. The Firebirds also boast one of the top defensive infields in the state with the Graves brothers up the middle and Lester and Wesley Cupps (2025; Ohio) manning the corners. Add in a pitching staff with the likes of Blaine Larkin (2025), that limits free passes and a bullpen spearheaded by explosive righty Zane Shaw (2026), Lawrence Free State has the tools to make a deep run in 6A.

+ Making their first appearence in the state tournament since 2018, Maize (21-7) is a scrappy bunch that knocked off Junction City and Manhattan on their way to a regional championship and will enter the state tournament as the No. 6 seed. They’re certainly battle tested, scheduling multiple tough opponents throughout the spring, defeating the likes of Blue Springs (MO), Maize South, Derby, and Olathe North to have themselves ready for a playoff run. With a true ace in Cooper Tannahill (2024) who is sporting a 0.71 ERA on the year and a young, talented line up that features Gavin Short (2026), Parker Meirowsky (2026), Drake Blasi (2027), and Gunner Hewitt (2024; Pratt CC), don't look for the Eagles to go quietly in Lawrence.

+ Shawnee Mission East (19-9) is a team that is getting hot at the right time. With a powerful offense led by Kansas player of the year candidate Anthony Mazza (2024; Hutchinson CC) and MLB draft prospect Jack Jones (2024; Tennessee), the Lancers are winners of 10 of their last 12, including wins over Shawnee Mission Northwest and a strong fourth seeded Olathe East club in regional action last week. When clicking, the Lancers' pitching staff is as deep as any, with strong arms in Weston Lyerly (2024; Indiana State), Carter Rose (2025), Michael Winter (2025) and Kyler Schuessler (2025) all able to shut offenses down on the mound, making Shawnee Mission East an extremely dangerous seven seed. 

+ Olathe South (13-13) fought their way through a difficult regional, upseting No. 2 seeded Gardner-Edgerton and No. 7 seeded Blue Valley to punch their ticket to the state tournament. The Falcons have been hurt by some injuries to some key players throughout the season, but have continued to fight and are getting some key pieces back at the right time. Pitching will be crucial for Olathe South and the Falcons will look to Austin O'Gorman (2024; Northwest Missouri State) and Gavin Blachowicz (2024; Nebraska) to anchor their staff in Lawrence. At the plate, Olathe South will look for Quinton Coats (2024; Cincinnati), Daxton Grissom (2026), and Colin Guerra (2024; Chipola) to continue their production from the regular season. 


Host: Hoglund Ballpark, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

May 23, 2024

11:00 AM: (1) Olathe West vs. (8) Olathe South

1:15 PM: (4) Topeka vs. (5) Lawrence Free State

3:30 PM: (2) Wichita Heights vs. (7) Shawnee Mission East

5:45 PM: (3) Blue Valley West vs. (6) Maize