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Maize (Kan.) baseball gets up early to defend its state title

Eagles face Blue Valley North (Overland Park, Kan.) in 11 a.m. quarterfinal

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Maize (Kan.) outfielder DJ McClure isn’t a morning person, but he and his teammates don’t have much of a choice at the Kansas State Baseball Championship. As the top seed, the Eagles play in the tournament’s first game, a quarterfinal on Friday at 11 a.m.

McClure, like most of his teammates, prefers night games, but isn’t complaining about the unusually early start time. The heat will be less of a factor in the morning and the winner will have more time to rest for Saturday’s semifinals and championship game than any other team at the tournament.

Senior Braxon Byfield says he hasn’t woken up earlier than 11:30 since school let out, but that changed on this trip. Maize coach Rocky Helm met his team for a light breakfast before heading to Lawrence North for batting practice. The Eagles arrived at Kansas’ Hoglund Stadium about an hour before first pitch.

Maize’s players stayed loose before the game by throwing, stretching and listening to music. The Eagles applied their customary eye black and took infield. By 11 a.m., everyone was wide awake.

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Watch Episode 3: Mental Approach
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Watch Episode 5: Winning Tradition
Watch Episode 6: Getting Settled
Watch Episode 7: Scouting Report




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