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Hayes is KSU's next big 'Cat -4/17/2014, 10:44 AM

New group for Plainville track -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

Otis track team deals with injuries, illness -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

Jets land former Titan Chris Johnson -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

HDN Area Track & Field honor roll, April 17 -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

Freeman winds up with N.Y. Giants -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

Tigers win on grand slam -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

Weber gets extension at K-State -4/17/2014, 10:15 AM

HHS' Weigel becomes a Cowboy -4/17/2014, 10:15 AM

Humburg jumping well for Ness City -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Doubles team rolls at HHS Invitational -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

HHS soccer improves to 6-2, beats Great Bend -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Prep golf results, April 15 -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Tiger tennis ends MIAA season in loss -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Tiger golfers ninth in St. Charles, Mo. -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Track results, Redmen Relays, April 15 -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP boys win at Ellsworth -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP softball sweeps Ellis -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP soccer suffers loss at Garden City -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP boys' golf third at Goodland -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP baseball rolls past Ellis -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

HHS baseball splits with Junction City -4/15/2014, 9:53 AM

TMP softball swept at Colby -4/15/2014, 10:10 AM

TMP golf begins season today -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

HHS soccer rallies for victory -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

Rare time off for Tiger softball -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

KSU, WSU Barnstormers coming to Hays -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

Watson wins Masters -4/14/2014, 10:08 AM

Royals swept by Twins -4/14/2014, 10:07 AM

Harvick wins at Darlington -4/13/2014, 6:51 AM

Royals ace James Shields struggles in loss to Twins -4/13/2014, 6:42 AM

K-State's Deante Burton feels ready to take his game up a notch -4/13/2014, 6:39 AM

Former Jayhawks address football team about facing struggles -4/13/2014, 6:39 AM

HHS basketball camp May 27 to 29 -4/13/2014, 6:32 AM

Tigers’ Wolf second at K.T. Woodman -4/13/2014, 6:32 AM

FHSU tennis drops pair of MIAA outings -4/13/2014, 6:31 AM

FHSU softball 3-1 in weekend -4/13/2014, 6:31 AM

Tiger offense shines in Spring Game -4/13/2014, 6:31 AM

Tiger baseball 1-3 in series -4/13/2014, 6:30 AM

Mattheyer jumps onto scene at Ellis -4/13/2014, 6:30 AM

HHS golf finishes second in Garden City -4/13/2014, 6:32 AM

HHS pitcher, catcher share chemistry -4/13/2014, 7:56 AM

HHS relay team wins Elite -4/12/2014, 6:37 PM

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Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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Young stars make LSU a threat to win CWS

Published on -6/14/2013, 9:47 AM

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Alex Bregman had already made up his mind to turn down the Boston Red Sox and instead enroll at LSU as he watched upstart Stony Brook celebrate a College World Series berth following their upset of the Tigers in Baton Rouge last year.

The next day, Bregman logged on to the social media site Twitter and guaranteed the Tigers would get to Omaha in 2013, when he would be their new shortstop.

"I knew I would be able to make a difference and expected I could do even more than I've done so far," said Bregman, recently named the national freshman hitter of the year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and All-America by Baseball America. "I'm just happy we're in Omaha and that's the main reason I came to school. I just wanted to win a national championship."

Thanks to a foundation of youth that includes players like Bregman, freshman outfielder Mark Laird and the sophomore ace of the pitching staff, Aaron Nola, LSU (57-9) will be among the favorites in Omaha after tying a school record for wins. The Tigers open play on Sunday against UCLA, and the so-far unbeatable Nola (12-0), will be on the mound.

Mason Katz is among the four-year seniors who would have comprised the first class since 1982 not to make at least one trip to Omaha during their LSU careers had the Tigers not made it this year. Katz is quick to give credit to rise of younger players.

"Those were pieces we were missing from last year," Katz said.

Nola was 7-4 as a freshman. This season, he has been arguably the best pitcher in college baseball, not losing a game in the formidable Southeastern Conference, then going 2-0 so far in the NCAA tournament.

While Nola's fastball can reach the low- to mid-90s, he does not have to try to overpower hitters because he is seemingly able to put his fastball, breaking ball and off-speed pitches wherever he wants.

But what also impresses Nola's coaches and teammates is the hurler's unshakable confidence and mental toughness.

For coach Paul Mainieri, one of Nola's defining moments came in the NCAA regional round, when three errors committed behind him allowed Sam Houston a five-run first inning. Nola responded with six shutout innings as LSU roared back.

In the super regional, Nola went head-to-head against Oklahoma ace Jonathan Gray, the third overall pick in the draft. He pitched a two-hit shutout in a 2-0 win -- and Katz will never forget a brief conversation he had with Nola in the tunnel behind the dugout around the sixth inning.

"I went down there and said, 'Hey, we're going to get a run.' And he goes, 'Well, if you score one, we win,"' Katz recalled. "That's who Aaron is. He always keeps us in the game."

The way the double-elimination College World Series is set up, LSU could pitch Nola as many as three times, and Nola said he embraces the chance to take as much responsibility for LSU's success as the team gives him.

"I feel good about it. We're playing for everything," Nola said. "You're supposed to have that mentality that, 'I'm the best.' ... Every time I go on the mound, that's how I think."

Mainieri describes Bregman as player who combines supreme talent with an unsurpassed work ethic -- the kind of player he finds in the batting cage, alone, at 8 a.m. on a fall Sunday, or persuading a team manager to hit him grounders when everyone else has left the stadium, and the lights are off, forcing him to field the ball in darkness.

"You can't fake that," Mainieiri said. "He just loves it that much. ... He's going to get every accolade you can get in your time here and you can't do that without talent, but unfortunately some kids that have a lot of talent don't have that kind of work ethic."

Bregman has hit .380 this season with six home runs, 18 doubles, seven triples and 52 runs batted in. His 104 hits are an LSU freshman record. He has stolen 16 bases on 17 attempts.

He might not have come to LSU if not for a broken finger that sidelined him his senior year of high school. Bregman arrived at LSU expecting to be a difference-maker, and endeared himself to teammates by putting them first. Katz recalled standing nearby, last fall, when Bregman was asked about his goals.

"He said, 'Get the seniors to Omaha,"' Katz recalled. "To have a freshman come in and not care about personal statistics or anything -- just to help us go to Omaha and win a national championship -- that's a guy you want to play with."

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