Thorndale eager to return to playoffs after two-year absence

Inexperienced team had to battle to reach post season

Devin Patin chases down a ground ball at third base before moving over and picking up the win against Holland. Devin Patin chases down a ground ball at third base before moving over and picking up the win against Holland. THORNDALE—The Thorndale Bulldogs are thrilled to be back in the playoff fold, but they had to battle tooth-and-nail to earn the right.

The 16-11 Bulldogs will take on Iola in a best-of-three series in the bi- district round, with the first game being played in Thorndale on Thursday at 7 p.m.

The second game is scheduled for Friday in Iola at 7 p.m. The third game—if necessary—will be announced.

The winner faces District 28A champion Weimar in the area round.

Iola was runnerup to No. 7 Bremond in District 25A.

Thorndale had to rally to finish in third place in District 26A with a 9-5 mark behind Thrall and Bartlett.

Thorndale showed its potential by pinning a 12-3 loss on the Tigers earlier in the year. They also dropped a 3-2 heartbreaker to Bartlett on April 22.

Thrall earned a bye, while Bartlett plays Leon in bi-district.

“We have been playing better the second half of district,” said Bulldog Coach Kelly Kuhl. “ We have started to hit the ball better and playing better defense.”

With only two seniors on the roster, the Bulldogs are making their first playoff appearance after spending two years in Class 2A.

In it’s last six years in Class A, no other team in the state had made as many trips to the state tournament as Thorndale—in any classification.

“Coming into this year, I didn’t really know what to expect with a lot of these guys not having any varsity experience,” said Kuhl, who is 128-68 in seven years of leading Thorndale with three trips to state.

Thorndale, 11-12 a year ago, closed out the district ledger with a 7-4 victory over Holland Friday.

Riley Schaefer provided the Bulldogs with an RBI triple, while Price Miller, Eric Hinistroza and Rowdy McCoy also brought home runs.

Devin Patin picked up the victory in relief of Gilbert Salinas.

Iola awaits with the Bulldogs’ first playoff opponent in two years.

“We are going to have to put the ball in play and keep the top of their lineup from getting on base.”

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