Young Teutons improve season before playoffs

INMAN—The Inman High School baseball team could be the most improved team this season. Last year the Teutons finished 4-18. One of Inman goals was to finish the regular season with a winning record. They accomplished that after sweeping Remington, and now are sitting at 9-7 going into regionals next week, where they hold the No. 4 seed in Class 2A. For that, the Teutons are the Great Plains Federal Credit Union Team of the Week, presented by the McPherson Sentinel.

"I'm very excited for the kids," Teutons Head Coach Matt Mikulecky said. "They've worked really hard this year. We've come a long way from where we started. It's really nice to have some success on the field and get a couple of Ws on Saturday.

The Teutons, filled with underclassmen, were a young and inexperience team, which led to the 4-18 record. This season, still a young team with only one senior on the roster, are more aggressive than they were a year ago.

"We took our lumps last year, having a very young team, and we're still very young, but we've really matured physically and mentally in the game," Mikulecky said. "I've seen these guys grow and improve on a daily basis, and so it's nice to see everything coming together and culminate in some victories."

The Teutons had a chance to win two more games against Canton-Galva High School to gain more momentum, but mother nature had other plans.

"It would've been nice to get those games in, so our pitchers can get more time on the mound and stay sharp," Mikulecky said.

All week, because of the field conditions due to the heavy thunderstorms, Mikulecky made some adjustments in his practice schedule while preparing for the postseason.

"We just tried to do the best that we can with what mother nature deals us, and so we tried to take advantage of the days we were able to get out on the field and practice and prepare for games," Mikulecky said. "We've worked on the little things and some of the mental side of the game. When we weren't able to play and had to work indoors, we just worked on our bullpens, keeping our pitchers fresh and sharp before regionals."

The Brown Brothers of Carter and Conner have been the Teuton's top hitters all season. Both sluggers combined for 43 RBIs. Connor, a junior, has a slight lead over his little brother Carter in statistics. He has the highest batting average of .491, hitting 22 runs, 10 doubles, one triple and a home run. Carter has a .444 batting average, nine doubles, a triple and two home runs.

"The Browns Brothers have been hitting three and four all year, and they have an exceptional season," Mikulecky said. "They are slugging pretty well, so it is nice to have the two guys at the heart of your lineup."

Another goal Inman accomplished was stealing at least 100 bases. They exceeded that expectation by recording 105 stolen bases this season. Derrick Johnson leads Inman with 23.

The Teutons also have a dynamic duo in their pitching game led by Landon Snyder and Kyler Konrade.

Both have four wins as starters on the mound,and were close to marketing their no-hitter campaign against Remington in game one and two.

"Kyler Konrade, as a freshman, has come out and has been a huge pleasant of surprise for us," Mikulecky said. "He's not shy of the moment. He comes out and throw strikes, doesn't matter who we play. He doesn't get rattled as a freshman. He's just been huge for us this year.

Landon, as a sophomore, just been our leader on the pitching staff. He's the same type of kid that doesn't get rattled or doesn't play like a sophomore. He plays like a senior. He'll go right at you. He's got good off-speed stuff and could command his pitches pretty well. He's good at getting ahead and staying ahead and is really efficient in his pitches. Both of those guys have been efficient. That's been huge for us this year. They have been able to go deep into games, win us some games and give a chance to win."

The Teutons will take on their Mac County rival Moundridge High School in the first round of the regionals next week at the Barton County Community College in Ellinwood. Inman faced Moundridge four times and won three of the four games this season. However, when it comes to the postseason play, it's a whole different ballgame.

"They are really scrappy, and they are going to be a tough first-round opponent, that's for sure," Mikulecky said. "We will have to play our best if we want to win and move on in the second round. We've played them four times, so we've seen a lot of them, and they've seen a lot of us, so we kind of know what to expect from each other. For us, we just need to focus on ourselves and make sure we come out and stay mentally focus and just do the little things. If we do that we have a chance to win."

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