Kansas seniors put aside rivalries, come together for one last high school baseball game

High School Sports

LAWRENCE, Kan. — High school has come to an end for Kansas City area seniors, and on Wednesday, dozens of local baseball players marked the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.

Seniors from across the metro came together for the Kansas Senior All-State Game in Lawrence.

“There were a couple games this season where it was a lot of our summer team guys that we played against, so it was good to get back and be teammates with them a couple more,” Blue Valley Southwest pitcher Ben Kudrna said.

“We’ve played with these people our whole lives, and it was nice knowing that this was the final thing with all of our friends, so we didn’t take anything for granted,” Blue Valley pitcher Carson Liggett said.

After many of them were rivals throughout high school, it was time for them to be teammates.

“It was awesome just getting a final chance to perform and seeing a lot of guys I’ve known for a long time,” Olathe East outfielder Grant Strong said.

Liggett and Kudrna were both named Pitchers of the Year after finishing their final seasons strong.

“It’s not, ‘Oh this is how much harder I threw,’ or ‘Oh, look at me.’ Now it’s kind of a thing to just be around my guys and being able to show up to the field every day. Winning a state title was obviously important to us,” Kudrna said.

“You’ll never be on a team that’s that close together and that wound,” Liggett said. “You don’t get the high school experience in college.”

Speaking of college, many of them already have big plans ahead.

Strong, the Kansas 6A Player of the Year, will attend the University of Kansas. Liggett is heading to baseball powerhouse Louisville this fall.

“Their history is amazing, and their coaching staff is probably what drew me their the most,” he said.

Kudrna is committed to LSU, but a bigger decision awaits. He ranked among the top 100 prospects in the upcoming MLB Draft. Now he’ll have to decide if he wants to turn pro or stick with college ball. He said he’s leaning on his parents and advisors.

“I think just trusting my gut, being happy with whatever happens and in my mind, like you said, anything that happens, LSU or draft — both are great options,” Kudrna said.

But on Wednesday, they were all just focused on the final game in their high school careers.

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