By Rick Peterson

Topeka High's baseball team ended a long, long state tournament drought Wednesday night.

In fact, it's going to take some digging in the history books to see just how long that drought was, although indications are it could be in the 60-year range.

THighjubeCampus1Topeka High's baseball team celebrates at the end of Wednesday's 11-1 win over Campus in the Class 6A regional at Hummer Sports Park. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

THighjubeCampus2Topeka High hoists the Class 6A regional championship trophy after Wednesday's 11-1 win over Campus. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

But all that matters to coach Cody Miller and his Topeka High team is that when the Class 6A state tournament gets under way next Thursday at Hoglund Ballpark in Lawrence, the Trojans will be there.

Topeka High, improving to 16-6, reached the 6A regional final with a 14-8 semifinal win over Garden City and then used an eight-run fifth inning to run-rule Campus, 11-1, in the championship game at Hummer Sports Park.

"When I woke up, I was like I just knew we were going to do it, so I sent a message to our team and said, 'Boys, I know we're going to do it today,' '' Miller said. "This is just a really special group and they're really resilient and they battle. They don't let negative plays affect them.''

Campus, the 2019 6A state champion, took advantage of a Trojan error to jump out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first of the championship game but the rest of the night belonged to the Topeka High, which got a solid pitching performance from junior Nate Plankinton and a 10-hit offensive attack.

Topeka High tied the game in the bottom of the second when senior catcher Elijah Kincade led off the inning with a double and came around to score on a a single from senior Peyton Wheat.

The Trojans took the lead to stay in the bottom of the third when Plankinton singled and scored and junior Isaiah Kincade was hit by a pitch and scored on a wild pitch.

Campus (10-12) threatened to get back in the game in the top of the fifth when the Colts loaded the bases, but the Trojans got out of the inning with a double play before sending 11 batters to the plate in the game-ending eight-run bottom of the fifth.

Topeka High collected five hits in the inning, including E. Kincade's two-run double, and the Trojans also took advantage of four walks before ending the game on junior Matthew Genrich's RBI sacrifice fly.

Plankinton, who pitched one inning of relief in the semifinal win over Garden City, went the distance in the championship game, allowing five hits while striking out seven.

Like his coach, Plankinton said he just knew that Tuesday was going to be a special day for the Trojans.

"I knew it from the start,'' Plankinton said. "Once we got Game 1 and I came out here Game 2 to throw I knew we had it in the bag. I knew nothing was going to stop us.

"When I was on the round I try to be confident and not cocky but I knew we had Game 2 if I was pitching.''

NatePlankintonCampus2Topeka High junior Nate Plankinton turned in a complete-game pitching performance in Wednesday's 11-1 Class 6A regional championship win over Campus. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

ElijahKincadeTHighCampusTopeka High senior Elijah Kincade (32) is congratulated by junior teammate Leandro Gonzales after scoring a run in the Trojans' 11-1 win over Campus. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

E. Kincade, one of just four seniors on the Trojan roster, said making it to state is a big accomplishment for the entire Topeka High team.

"Getting these two wins tonight, it means a lot and we did that,'' Kincade said. "When I was a sophomore it was our first winning season in over a decade and it's been a journey.

"We've had three back-to-back-to-back winning seasons and it's been one heck of a ride.''

The 6A state tournament is scheduled for next Thursday and Friday at Hoglund, with the pairings to be released after the conclusion of all eight regional tournaments.



Campus (10-12)       100 00 -- 1 5 1

Topeka High (16-6)  012 08 -- 11 10  2

Wiseman, Tackett (5) and Clements. Plankinton and E. Kincade . W -- Plankinton. L -- Wiseman. 2B -- Campus: Buller. Topeka High: E. Kincade 2.

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