After making appearances in the Kansas 6A State Baseball Tournament in 2017 and 2018, the Olathe Northwest Ravens have their sights set on a their third straight trip to Lawrence. Last season’s roster was stacked from top to bottom with offensive firepower, most of whom were lost to graduation. Seniors Nate Niceswanger and Kyle Shiever both had high on base percentages at the top of the order (Shiever hit above .420 on the season) and scored countless runs. Another senior, Reid Seacat provided home run power in the middle along with juniors Brady Slavens and Wyatt Morgan. Finally, Brady Walker and Drake Seetin were effective on the hill, but missed a significant portion of the season due to health issues.
This season, the Ravens have completely altered their approach to the game. With less firepower in the lineup, Northwest has placed their focus on three things:
- Record the least offensive strikeouts in the Sunflower league.
- Limit the walks drawn by opponents.
- Play the best/most efficient defense in the Sunflower league.
With the loss of SS Brady Slavens to an early graduation, junior Brevon Lee has moved a bit closer to the action from LF. Other key defensive replacements include Logan Alexander at 2B, Taylor Mahoney in CF, Grant Hall in RF, Kolton Voss in LF, and Wyatt Morgan at 1B. Despite a lot of shifts in defensive positioning, the Raven’s roster is packed with high school baseball experiences. With 9 seniors suiting up (Logan Alexander, Jack Clayton, Grant Howard, Grayson Jones, Taylor Mahoney, Wyatt Morgan, Sam Righter, Erich Pouch, and Kolton Voss), there is plenty of leadership to carry this group to success.
At the plate, the Ravens have shown little indication of growing pains. In their first three games this season, senior Wyatt Morgan has already hit two home runs, breaking the career record. Grayson Jones (3B) and Grant Howard (C) have both started out strong following unimpressive seasons at the plate last year. The youngest addition to the lineup, Bryce Johnson (DH), has made a massive impact so far in his sophomore season.
The biggest concern in the offseason was pitching. With D1 commit Brady Walker, Drake Seetin, and Nick Hagerty graduating, only Sam Righter remained from the previous pitching rotation. To fill the void, seniors Jack Clayton (2 wins) and Taylor Mahoney (1 save) have stepped up.
Despite a significant loss to graduation, the Olathe Northwest Ravens are poised to make another run at a State Championship if they are able to play their brand of baseball.