PITTSBURG -- The Southeast Kansas League coaches picked the Iola Mustangs baseball squad and the Labette County Grizzlies softball team as the favorites to top the standings in their respective sportsfdor 2012.
That is according to The Ticket -- 99.1 ESPN Radio coaches polls announced during the second annual Southeast Kansas High School Baseball/Softball Media Luncheon at the Watco Companies Conference Room Monday (March 5).
Iola, playing their last season in the SEK League before moving to the Pioneer League next school year, picked up five of the seven available first-place votes (one school did not vote and coaches could not vote for their own schools) in the baseball poll. The Mustangs (17-3 in 2011) finished with 53 of a possible 56 points to get a five-point edge on defending champion Pittsburg.
The Purple Dragons (16-6 In 2011) picked up two first-place votes and finished with 48 points to rank a comfortable second in the poll. Playing in Class 5A last season, Pittsburg was the regional runner-up last season -- the Dragons will be in Class 4A this season.
Positions three though six were separated by seven points, with Columbus getting the No. 3 slot with one first-place vote and 36 points -- one ahead of Fort Scott and three better than Independence. This is Columbus' last season in the SEK as well -- the Titans join the Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League next school year.
In softball, the defending champion Grizzlies topped the coaches survey with seven of the eight available first-place votes and 63 of a possible 64 points. Labette County posted a 20-2 record in 2011.
The Parsons and Fort Scott each grabbed a single first-place vote, with the Vikings placing second in the poll with 54 points and the Tigers coming in third with 49 points. Parsons (13-6 in 2011) was the regional runner-up after knocking off LCHS in the semifinals.
Columbus and Chanute finished with 40 points each to tie for fourth place.