The 2018 Hornets varsity squad will face a number of top teams this spring including two teams that made it to semi-finals of State last year and more teams that are traditional powerhouses in Missouri Class 5 baseball.
The season will open at home against rival Winnetonka, who finished last year one game over .500 will be the first challenge for a Hornets team returning only a handful of Seniors. The Griffins only appear once on the conference schedule for Northtown, but both teams are likely to hook up during the Northland tournament in mid-April.
The Warriors of St. Pius X finish the first week of the year. Pius (7-9) is only two years removed from a deep run at at State Championship out of Class 4 in 2016 as the District 15 Champion.
The Hornets hit the road on March 26 for the first time for a conference game against the Northmen of Oak Park. Oak Park (10-19) will also face the Hornets later in the season at Community America Ballpark, for the annual T-Bones game.
They will round out the second week of the season with a home game against Fort Osage (11-13) and a trip up to Class 4 Cameron (7-17) on Friday.
The third week of the season features five games in six days as they have two home games against William Chrisman (9-16) and Ruskin (0-17). They hit the road on Friday to face off against the Bulldogs of Grandview (13-11) before ending the week with a home Saturday doubleheader against Class 5 powerhouse Staley (24-7).
Staley is only one year removed from a semi-final appearance for state, and lost the district championship game last year to Platte County, who the Hornet will take on in early May. Staley is also the first team the Hornets will face who are pre-season Top 10’s as voted by the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches. Their senior class includes short stop Jackson Dierenfeldt who is committed to Drury University, Mason Majors, a catcher heading to Richmond next season, Braedyn McLaughlin, a right handed pitcher committed to the University of Missouri, and Johnny Joe Raybourn, another catcher heading to Central Missouri. They are ranked second in the state to open the year so taking them on back-to-back will be a challenge for sure.
The last week before the Oak Park tournament will feature an away game at Park Hill (12-17), a home game versus St. Joe Lafayette (13-11) who lost in their Class 4 District championship game to Maryville, and then wrapping up the week against Truman (5-22).
The Park Hill game will feature one of the top prospects in the Kansas City area. LHP Liam Henry is already committed to the University of Arkansas and should be drafted later this year. He has a fastball in the mid-90’s.
The Oak Park tournament looks to be a challenging one with nearly every Northland team participating. Those teams not already on the Hornet’s schedule include Class 4 Excelsior Springs (16-11), Grain Valley (22-6), Kearney (15-14), and Smithville (17-12).
Smithville and Liberty North were both District Champions last year and look to be favorites to go deep in the tournament.
Only two more weeks remain until Districts and the Hornets will face their toughest stretch of teams. They start with the Oak Park rematch at Community America, take on Fort Osage (11-13) and second meeting with William Chrisman to round out the next to last week of regular season baseball. Be on the lookout for outfielder Zane Barr, senior, from Fort Osage. He is a beast and already committed to play at Libscomb next year.
Then they will finish their regular schedule playing at Ruskin, taking on State contender Platte County (23-3) as well as finishing the season at home against Raytown (7-18).
No small task for the Hornets this season and there will certainly be no off days for sure!