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Vitztum, TMP boys storm by Colby -3/6/2015, 10:27 AM

Mickelson could play another big role for KU -3/6/2015, 10:27 AM

Hoxie ties record, has bigger goals in mind -3/6/2015, 11:05 AM

Berens' big night keys HHS win -3/6/2015, 10:27 AM

Thursday's prep basketball boxscores -3/6/2015, 10:27 AM

MLS and players reach deal -3/5/2015, 10:58 AM

KU's Ellis out vs. OU -3/5/2015, 10:58 AM

Kacperska ready to step up -3/5/2015, 10:58 AM

Gregorian: Royals' bats come alive in exhibition -3/5/2015, 10:57 AM

Wichita State's Wessel, Carter chosen for MVC's Most-Improved Team -3/5/2015, 10:57 AM

TV analyst Mark Adams loves the MVC -3/5/2015, 10:57 AM

Bills get their workhorse back in LeSean McCoy -3/4/2015, 11:51 AM

Perry Ellis will miss regular season finale -3/4/2015, 11:51 AM

Kansas rallies, wins Big 12 outright -3/4/2015, 11:51 AM

Wildcats have shot at tourney? -3/4/2015, 11:51 AM

Lehman, Hobson collect MIAA honors -3/4/2015, 1:44 PM

Two headed to nationals for Tiger track -3/4/2015, 11:51 AM

Tiger softball earns Tuesday sweep -3/3/2015, 7:45 PM

Season ends for FHSU men -3/3/2015, 10:20 AM

Claflin great Jackie Stiles inducted into NFHS Hall of Fame -3/3/2015, 10:19 AM

KU's Big 12 streak one for the ages -3/3/2015, 10:10 AM

FHSU's Keehn wins second MIAA title in track -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

Wessel continues to spark Shockers -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

Ronda Rousey's fast work, like at UFC 184, a big draw -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

Minnie Minoso's love of baseball never waned -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

FHSU wrestling sending four to nationals -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

Kansas State rallies late to put away Iowa State -3/1/2015, 9:33 AM

No. 8 Kansas holds on to defeat Texas, 69-64 -3/1/2015, 9:31 AM

Wichita State captures MVC crown by beating Northern Iowa -3/1/2015, 9:30 AM

Ellis' Younger cruises through Friday at 3-2-1A -3/1/2015, 9:39 AM

Hays High's Deterding second in 4A -3/1/2015, 9:58 AM

Norton wins title with backside points -3/1/2015, 9:36 AM

Hoxie's Porsch repeats in 3-2-1A -3/1/2015, 9:43 AM

FHSU splits at Northeastern State -3/1/2015, 9:41 AM

HHS girls win on senior night -3/1/2015, 9:40 AM

HHS boys roll by Great Bend -3/1/2015, 9:39 AM

Class 3-2-1A State Wrestling finals results -2/28/2015, 9:37 AM

Tigers fall, need win to host first round -2/27/2015, 10:20 AM

Tiger women, MIAA champs, hang on -2/27/2015, 10:29 AM

Monarchs survive on senior night -2/27/2015, 12:17 PM

With KU back in control, Jayhawks prepare for 'high drama' -2/27/2015, 10:19 AM

Nino Williams takes long road to success at Kansas State -2/27/2015, 10:18 AM

Sub-state basketball pairings -2/26/2015, 10:37 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Younger part of youth movement for Railers -2/26/2015, 10:48 AM

Big 12 reprimands K-State after court-storming -2/26/2015, 10:53 AM

Hays High's top four headed to Salina -2/26/2015, 10:36 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- HDN area state qualifiers -2/26/2015, 10:48 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Porsch seeks a repeat in state finale -2/26/2015, 10:49 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Freshman Hutchinson leads young group of Redmen -2/26/2015, 10:49 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Norton steps up again to have shot at 3-2-1A state crown -2/26/2015, 10:50 AM

Shockers fight past Indiana State, set up big Saturday -2/26/2015, 10:27 AM

Rhoades back at state -- this time in 4A -2/26/2015, 10:36 AM

TMP survives Plainville -2/25/2015, 11:26 AM

K-State issues apology -2/25/2015, 10:22 AM

HHS swept at Dodge -2/25/2015, 10:22 AM

Tuesday's area prep basketball boxscores -2/25/2015, 10:21 AM

Royals still hoping for Starling to break out -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Penske revels in Logano's victory at Daytona 500 -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Wildcat's win throws a roadblock at Jayhawks -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

KBCA prep basketball rankings, Feb. 23 -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Wildcats get it done -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

No-name Hahn wins Northern Trust Open -2/23/2015, 10:24 AM

FHSU softball splits on Sunday in Minnesota -2/23/2015, 10:15 AM

Logano wins first Daytona 500 -2/23/2015, 10:15 AM

Lutz: VanVleet has another day to remember -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

VanVleet takes Wichita State's assists title in win -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

'Cats seek confidence before game with KU -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

Perry Ellis, No. 8 Kansas rebound from loss, beat TCU -2/22/2015, 12:47 PM

Baylor drills K-State -2/22/2015, 12:48 PM

Monarch girls run away from Stockton -2/22/2015, 12:38 PM

TMP wins physical game at Stockton -2/22/2015, 12:39 PM

Mathews all-state for HHS -2/22/2015, 12:48 PM

HHS wins at Garden, jumps back into WAC race -2/22/2015, 12:41 PM

Wrestling roundup -- Hays High sends four to 4A state -2/22/2015, 8:19 PM

Victoria puts together complete game in win at Ness City -2/22/2015, 12:40 PM

HHS girls fall down early, lose at Garden -2/22/2015, 12:39 PM

Earnhardt Jr. makes Duel history, Patrick qualifies -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

HHS sends relays to state -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

Tiger baseball takes two from UCM -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

Gene Stephenson says he's filed his own appeal -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

TCU takes out K-State -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

Bohuslavsky keys win for Tiger women -2/19/2015, 10:59 AM

Tiger men rally for MIAA win -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

Tiger women No. 1 in Central Region -2/18/2015, 5:04 PM

Tuesday's area prep basketball boxscores -2/18/2015, 11:22 AM

Barton's Hensley named Player of the Week -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

TMP boys win, girls fall in Great Bend -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

K-State hopes to build some momentum at TCU -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

Two in a row for HHS girls -2/18/2015, 10:47 AM

Hot early, HHS boys get win at Abilene -2/18/2015, 10:47 AM

All is possible at Daytona -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

WVU tops Jayhawks in wild finish -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Chiefs can find impact receiver in NFL draft -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Chargers set sights on LA, push San Diego officials for action on stadium -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Defense a constant for Shockers -2/17/2015, 10:26 AM

FHSU, UCM series moved to Hays -2/16/2015, 10:55 AM

KU prepares for full-court press -2/16/2015, 10:17 AM

Foster lifts Kansas State past Oklahoma on Saturday -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Three Tigers crowned MIAA champs -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Bowyer, after crash, slams qualifying format -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

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

Click To View All


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SPOTLIGHT
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Optimism abounds after Royals finish 86-76

Published on -9/30/2013, 3:53 PM

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By DAVE SKRETTA

AP Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Their best record in more than two decades. Several breakout stars. A hungry bunch of young players who have finally played September games that matter.

There's a lot to be optimistic about when it comes to the Kansas City Royals. There are also plenty of questions remaining as they point toward next season.

Will manager Ned Yost be back? Will they find a big bat for right field? Will they retain or replace right-hander Ervin Santana? Will some of the young pitchers develop into starters? Will they take the final step needed to make the postseason?

"We like our bullpen, we like our starting pitching and we think that our offensive unit is going to continue to grow and trend upward," said Yost, whose contract expired after this season but who's also received a vote of confidence from general manager Dayton Moore. "We think we're sitting in a pretty good spot to come in next year and compete."

The Royals finished 86-76 for their best record since 1989, and a 14-win improvement over last season. They were just five games back of the AL's wild card and in contention until the penultimate series of the season.

"Everyone in here realized how much fun winning was in that second half was for us," first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "The fans were great in Kansas City, showing up every day and filling it out for us and really making it a tough place to play for teams coming in."

Indeed, the fervor of late-season baseball was back in the old Midwestern cattle town for the first time since George Brett -- who made a cameo as the Royals' hitting coach midway through the season -- was plying his trade at third base in the 1970s and '80s.

Kauffman Stadium was filled to the brim for the Royals' final home series against Texas, and the team even managed to push the Chiefs off the front page late in the season.

"A lot of us realized how good of a baseball city Kansas City is," Hosmer said, "and especially when you're winning how fun it can be."

The Royals still haven't been to the playoffs since winning the 1985 World Series, and never did pull into a postseason slot despite a stellar second half. They still have not risen to the level of the American League's elite franchises, even if they're trending that way.

For the most part, the Royals spent the entire season chasing those teams.

They got off to a miserable start capped by a disastrous May in which they were just 8-20, and they were already being written off again. But they steadied the ship in June and then went on a tear after the All-Star break, putting together a 43-27 finishing kick.

"We just need to keep that kind of mentality where we go out there and play hard and have fun and just let that happen," outfielder Alex Gordon said. "We had a good energy in the clubhouse and a good mentality, kind of feeling. It paid off with the wins we had."

The clubhouse will remain largely intact next season. Hosmer and young starters such as shortstop Alcides Escobar and center Salvador Perez are under club control or already have long-term deals, and even ace James Shields remains signed through next season. Santana is the biggest loss looming -- he may have priced himself out of Kansas City by going 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA.

The Royals will make a qualifying offer to Santana, but they also have a bevy of youngsters led by Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer waiting in the wings if he gets away in free agency. All-Star closer Greg Holland, who saved 47 games with a 1.21 ERA, will be back to anchor one of the major's best bullpens. Holland had just one blown save in his last 41 chances.

The biggest question becomes who will manage them.

Owner David Glass intends to leave that decision up to Moore, who has been in Yost's corner all season. Yost also has said he'd like to be back, especially with the franchise finally contending for the first time in decades.

"When you have something good you need to stick with it," Gordon said, "and I think that's what we have. We have a good manager that gels well with the guys on this team and we all have a good relationship. It's kind of hard to start over again with someone new, so it'd be nice to have him back and we're hoping that he comes back."

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