When the first pitch happens at 4:00 PM on Monday at Macken Park to open the Hornets season, they’ll be facing off against a very familiar foe. The Winnetonka Griffins stand as a top rival to the Hornets, sharing the same District and Conference. Over the past several years, the gold and cardinal red has held the upper hand over the purple and gold over the past several years, however there is a great deal to look forward to in this matchup. Tonka went on to a 11-10 season last year, losing 9-0 to Fort Osage in the first round of Districts. Here are a few notes about the matchup and its history:
- Over the past nine years, Tonka has won 10 out of their last 12 including two victories last year. The first to open the season (5-2) and the second in the Northland Tournament (8-5)
- Both of Northtown’s wins have come at home. (2015 8-5; 2014 15-14) and all games since have been on the road.
- Senior Kyle Gaines is certainly no stranger to the Griffins. Gaines started the opener last year giving up four runs on five hits and seven walks. However, he made up for it at the plate with two hits including a triple.
- Junior Grant Lorenzen and senior Devin Petersen both had hits in the rematch while Lorenzen also held the Griffins scoreless in an inning and a third allowing only one hit.
- Rosters for Tonkat have not yet been releases, but Winnetonka has traditionally been an offense and speed-focused club. They have produced several college standouts including Marquise Doherty, a two-sport standout from 2015 who played a year for the Missouri Tigers then transferred to Hutchinson Community College and was also drafted by the Royals.
- The Griffins also just lost two seniors to advanced college baseball last year. Ronnie Wigginton RHP and Brad Willis C both went on to play ball at the next level.
- Keep a sharp eye out for SS Daniel Newbury and OF Vincent Tonoco. Both have committed to colleges next year. Newbury to Southwestern CC and Tonoco to Allen County CC.
- First pitch will be at Macken Park at 4 pm following announcements of both teams opening-day style and a National Anthem to welcome back baseball to the Northland.
Can’t be at the game? Follow along with every pitch right here on nkchornetbaseball.com