The Kansas Amateur Baseball Association coaches like the new single-elimination format of the KABA Tournament.
Ottawa coach Shawn Herrmann said the format will make it a more level playing field.
“Anybody can be beaten at anytime,” he said.
Wellsville coach Chris Caruthers echoed those same sentiments.
“I like the new format of single elimination where you have to bring it every single game or you are out of it this year,” he said. “No teams can hold something back if they need to get by.”
The eight-team tournament is set for Saturday and Sunday in Osawatomie. Each team will play three games.
Iola has yet to be beaten by a KABA team this summer and is the defending state and KABA tourney champs.
“Iola has to be the favorite for this year,” Caruthers said. “I think they have proved all summer long that they are a very talented and solid team up and down their lineup.”
Top-seeded Iola has had a few close calls, but pulled them out.
“Iola has pressure on them,” Herrmann said.
Second-seeded Ottawa opens the tourney 5 p.m. Saturday against No. 7 Burlington, while No. 3 Wellsville plays No. 6 Osawatomie at 2:30 p.m.
Herrmann expects most of the games to be closer as the teams will throw their top pitchers to set up their rotations for their upcoming Zone tourneys.
Ottawa and Wellsville expect to battle Iola for the championship.
“Wellsville is playing some pretty good ball this summer,” Caruthers said. “Our pitchers have kept us in every game and our hitters have taken care of the rest for most of the summer. “If we continue to compete and play smart baseball I think we should have a shot at being right there with the top few teams.”
Herrmann said Ottawa is playing its best baseball of the season, but has room for improvement.
“We have to play our best defense,” he said. “We are not going to score 10 runs a game. Our pitching has been solid all year. We are playing good baseball right now.”
But this format and all the teams knowing each other could make for an interesting tournament.
Herrmann said most of the teams have played each other in league play and during the spring high school season.
“Everybody knows what each other can do,” he said.
Game 1: (1) Iola vs. (8) Louisburg, 10 a.m.
Game 2: (4) Fort Scott vs. (5) Garnett, 12:15 p.m.
Game 3: (3) Wellsville vs. (6) Osawatomie, 2:30 p.m.
Game 4: (2) Ottawa vs. (7) Burlington, 5 p.m.
Game 6: Louisburg-Iola winner vs. Fort Scott-Garnett winner, 10 a.m.
Game 7: Wellsville-OZ winner vs. Ottawa-Burlington winner, 12:15 p.m.
Game 8: Semifinal losers, 2:30 p.m.
Game 9: Semifinal winners, 4:45 p.m.
Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 10 a.m.
Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 12:15 p.m.
Seventh-Eighth place game, 2:30 p.m.
Fifth-Sixth place game, 4:45 p.m.