Cardiac Cougars win State Quarterfinal thriller

WICHITA, Kan. — The Salina South Cougars first trip to the State Baseball Tournament in five years was certainly no disappointment, as the Cougars knocked off the Pittsburg Purple Dragons 5-3 in extra innings on Thursday night.

Salina South struggled offensively for the first five innings, going hitless until the top of the 6th inning. Trailing 3-0, South would rally, using a pair of walks and a hit batter, and a 2 RBI single from Ryan Brown to tie the game late.

Kaden Budke started on the mound for the Cougars, giving them a strong start of 4.1 innings, allowing three run, but only allowing two hits. The vast majority of Pittsburg’s baserunners came via walks, an area where Budke struggled slightly on the day, handing out six free passes, but the Senior stood strong and never let the Dragons put up more than one run in an inning, keeping South alive late into the game.

The Cougars and Dragons would each go scoreless in the 7th, forcing extra innings, a scenario the Cougars know all too well, having outlasted 6-seed Great Bend 5-4 in 11 long innings last week in the Sub-State Opening Round.

That familiarity with tight late game situations paid dividends, as the Cougars used another pair of walks and a fielding miscue to load up the bases in the 8th. Then, back-to-back suicide squeeze bunts scored a pair of South runs, giving them their first lead on the night.

In the bottom of the 8th, Pittsburg threatened, but as he has all season, Senior Brady Howard closed out the game for his 9th pitching win of the season, and clinching Salina South’s spot in the Kansas Class 5A Semifinals Friday afternoon.

The win lifts the Cougars to now 16-13 on the season, their fifth-straight win and their 8th in their last 11 tries. South will play at approximately 1:30 PM Friday afternoon against the winner of Goddard-Eisenhower and Saint Thomas Aquinas at Eck Stadium, and following that in either the 5A State Title Game or the Third Place game later in the afternoon.

Coverage of the Cougars run into the final day of the State Tournament will be available on 1150 AM KSAL and 106.7 FM in Salina and online at as well.

Fans wishing to relive Salina South’s thrilling win from Thursday night can tune in to the recording of the broadcast on the Newsradio 1150 KSAL Soundcloud page thru the link below.




Kaden Budke: 4.1 IP, 3 Runs (3 Earned), 1 Hit, 4 Strikeouts, 6 Walks

Brady Howard (W): 3.2 IP, 0 Runs, 2 Hits, 5 Walks, 1 Hit Batter



Kolton Herbel: 0-3, Walk, Run Scored

Brady Howard: 1-4, Single, Run Scored

Kaden Budke: 0-2, 2 Walks, Run Scored, RBI

Dawson Dooley: 0-3, Walk, Run Scored

Jace Humphrey: 0-3, Walk, Reached on Error

Ryan Brown: 2-3, 2 Singles, Hit by Pitch, 3 RBI

Tristan Bernhardt: 1-4, Single, RBI

Landon Putman: 0-4

Aidan Speilman: 0-3, Hit by Pitch, Run Scored