Thunder sets

exhibition game

WICHITA — The Wichita Thunder will host an exhibition game against the Tulsa Oilers at 7 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Wichita Ice Center.

Also on the bill, the Wichita Junior Thunder of the Tier II Junior A Western States Hockey League will face the Oklahoma City Junior Blazers at 4 p.m.

Tickets are available at the Thunder office at the Wichita Ice Center.

KCAC names

partner

WICHITA — The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference has announced a three-year partnership with the Big Game Football Factory as the exclusive provider of footballs for the conference.

The Big Game Football Factory also will provide 10 commemorative KCAC championship balls as well as trophy balls for the conference post-season award winners.

KCAC names

coordinator

WICHITA — The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference has named Dan Key as the coordinator of baseball officials.

Key has been an umpire for 10 years, including seven in the KCAC. He also has officiated KSHSAA, Jayhawk Conference (junior college), Heart of America Athletic Conference (NAIA) and Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NCAA Division II) games.

He assigned umpires for the Topeka Premier Umpire Association from 2013 to 2017 and the Great Plains Shootout since 2013.

Wichita hosts

Beep baseball

WICHITA — Wichita will host the 2021 National Beep Baseball Association World Series, in conjunction with Visit Wichita and Envision, which provides services for the vision impaired.

The competition will be held at the South Lakes Soccer Complex.

Beep baseball is a modified version of baseball and softball for the vision impaired.

A 16-inch softball is implanted with a devise that emits and audio sound, a “beep,” that allows for the players to follow the ball. All players are blindfolded to compensate for players with different levels of sight.

Pitchers are sighted.

There are just two bases and a home plate. A team is awarded a run if a batter reaches base before a fielder is able to field the ball. If the fielder reaches the ball before the batter reaches base, the batter is out.

The tournament is expected to draw about 20 teams. The tournament was last played in Wichita in 1978.

Newman names

two coaches

WICHITA — Newman University named Andrea Gustafson as its new head softball coach and Drew Maus as its new head baseball coach.

Maus was an assistant coach at Henderson State from 2010 to 2013 and again from 2015 to 2019. He was an assistant at Arkansas-Little Rock from 2013 to 2015.

“We believe we have an outstanding young coach to lead the Newman baseball program,” Newman AD Joanna Pryor said. “Drew comes from a family of coaches and he has great knowledge and a wonderful love for the game that will benefit our student-athletes.”

“Coaching is in my family,” Maus said. “My dad is a hall of fame coach in Ohio. He won two state championships at the high school that I attended. My uncle coached at two different high schools. My cousin is the head football coach at Hamilton (Ohio) High School. My other cousin is the head baseball coach at Northwest High School and my grandpa coached forever. So I kind of always knew what I was going to do.”

Maus played college baseball at Ouachita Baptist University, leading the team to the NCAA Division II runner-up spot in 2008.

“Wichita is the crème de la crème in regards to talent in the region and has a great baseball tradition,” Maus said. “I want to bring back the consistent excellence that Coach (Paul) Sanagorski had when he built the Jets program. I want people to remember Newman as a baseball school and know that we’re going to be a program that’s going to be around for a while and competing for a long time.”

Maus inherits a team that went 17-13 last season, 3-18 in the Heartland Conference.

Gustafson joins Newman after 15 seasons at Seward County Community College in Liberal, where she amassed nearly 600 wins. She led Seward to two four NJCAA Region VI titles and two NJCAA World Series berths.

She spent last season as an assistant at Garden City Community College.

“I love the sport of softball,” Gustafson said. “My passion for softball is very strong. Over the years, I have loved watching kids develop and mature athletically and personally and I'm really looking forward to that here, too.

“I have a lot of connections at the high school and junior college levels. I look forward to recruiting them to Newman. I think we have a beautiful campus and I think being in Wichita can help bring talented kids to our program.”

“We are excited to have Andrea join our athletic department team at Newman. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge and passion for the game that will have an immediate impact on our softball program,” Pryor said.

Pryor plated collegiately at Oregon, where she was a two-time All-Pac-10 selection and helped lead the team to three NCAA tournament berths.

Pryor inherits a team that finished 16-35 last season, 8-22 in the Heartland Conference.

Newman moves into the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in the fall, putting all of the state’s NCAA Division II schools into the same conference.