Wellington Heat General Manager Kylee Twyman offered her analysis of the 2019 edition of the Heat squad in terms of camaraderie.
“From the very first day of workouts the guys really started to bond,” said Twyman. “They all get along well for what should be a successful season.” The Heat begin their sixth summer in Wellington and second year as members of the Kansas Collegiate Baseball League.
The camaraderie Kylee spoke of was on complete display last Sunday night at Hibbs-Hooten Stadium as shouts of encouragement and chatter emanated from the home team dugout in the bottom of the ninth inning with the Heat trailing Denver 4-1.
The Heat hitters showed impressive discipline at the plate while the Denver hurlers couldn’t find it, issuing four straight bases-on-balls followed by a HBP and yet another walked hitter and before you knew it, the score was knotted at 4 with outfielder Sparky Bray at the dish with the bases full and nobody out.
A deep sacrifice fly to center by Bray scored Garrett Thornton with the winning run and the Heat took to the field in a joyous storm to carry Bray away.
After some early rain-outs to open the season, Wellington was able to take the field at Hibbs-Hooten against the Cheney Diamond Dawgs last Tuesday and Wednesday. Both nights the Heat pitching came to play, allowing only two runs each game to the Diamond Dawgs in 4-2 and 3-2 victories.
A win against a squad from Mulvane on the road was followed by a Friday night home game in which Cheney exacted some measure of revenge in a win over the Heat.
Denver came to town to open a weekend series and after jumping on Wellington to take a Saturday night win the boys from Colorado had a grip on the Heat in the ninth inning Sunday, whi;ch proved to be a bit too hot to handle.
After a day off Monday the Heat traveled to Valley Center on Tuesday and then Goddard on Wednesday. Results were not known at press time.
Head Coach Rick Twyman, who delegates much authority to his coaching staff, asked first-year assistant coach Cade Carter to give his assessment of the early season. “We have some talented players,” said coach Carter after Sunday’s game. “I think we have enough talent to win a National Title. The guys are here working hard and we have more coming in.”
Southwestern College of Winfield has contributed five players to lend a local feel to the Heat. And Wellington graduate Matt Stalcup, late of Pitt State, is on the pitching staff for Twyman and longtime Wellington baseball coach Ron Metzen is once again on the Heat coaching staff.
Wellington’s goal of appearing in the National Baseball Congress World Series has not changed from year to year but the stadium that hosts the Series will change this summer as Lawrence-Dumont Stadium has been torn down to make way for a new facility, which opens in time for 2020. Meantime it will be Eck Stadium on the WSU campus hosting the 2019 Series.
Before that happens though, it’s two months of summer Heat baseball. After Wednesday’s road game the Heat return to Hibbs-Hooten to face the 316 Elite on Thursday, with the Pipeliners making an appearance on Friday. The Heat then play a home-away series with the Valley Center Mud Daubers, Saturday at Hibbs-Hooten and Sunday on the road. The Clearwater Outlaws will come to town to face the Heat on Monday.
All games for the Heat begin at 7:05 pm.