by Alan Hoskins
Over the course of 35 years of coaching, Steve Burleson has lost a lot of mind-jarring losses but none quite like Kansas City Kansas Community College’s two losses in the finals of the super-regional at Wichita Tuesday night.
With a berth in the NJCAA World Series on the line, the Blue Devils were forced into a second game by an 8-1 loss to No. 1 seeded and 5th ranked Johnson County in the first game of the double elimination tournament – and then held without a hit in a 2-0 loss in the decisive final game.
“I’ve never taken a bus ride like that one home,” said Burleson. “There literally was not a word spoken. After three good wins over three good teams with a day’s rest and a good workout in between, nothing told me we’d only score one run in 18 innings or that we’d be no-hit and strike out 11 times in the final game of the year.
“I guess as basketball coaches say, we were just not able to finish. We were the hottest team in the conference for a time but were just not able to finish, something I’m sure a lot of players and coaches will be wondering why for a long time. But I don’t want to take anything away from Johnson County. It’s hard to win 50 games in a year. They pushed us around in the first game and dominated us in the second with their pitching.”
KCKCC (39-22) had two early scoring opportunities in the second game. JCCC starter Dalton Gulick walked Christian Arnold and Tyler Raymond with one out in the second but escaped on a ground ball and pop foul and then hit Luke Norton and walked Tanner Thibodeau with one out in the third.
Summoned from the bullpen, sophomore Connor Miller struck out Garrett McKinzie and got Arnold on a fly to center – and then finished with six perfect innings. Retiring all 20 batters he faced, Miller struck out 10 in recording just his second win of the season.
Lost in the no-hitter was a superb pitching effort by KCKCC freshman lefthander Hunter Phillips (9-7), who gave up just five hits, struck out five and walked two – and two tainted runs. Scoreless through four innings, JCCC’s John Fairchild walked to lead off the fifth, moved up to second on a bunt and held there on Alec Alvarez’s fly to Luke Norton in center. However, Norton’s throw to the infield eluded three Blue Devils and then found a 5-foot opening in the JCCC dugout and Fairfield was allowed to score an unearned run.
The Cavaliers’ second run scored in the seventh when Hayden Steele doubled to left and Ben Calvano lobbed a single into short rightfield on which Arnold made a perfect one hop throw to the plate that was dropped. It was one of four outstanding plays by Arnold, who made three spectacular diving catches in the two games.
One bad inning proved the Blue Devils’ downfall in the opener. KCKCC starter Geoffrey Birkemeier, who had beaten JCCC 3-2 in the tournament opener on Friday, pitched hitless ball over the first three innings only to have the Cavaliers bunch two doubles and four singles in the fourth for a 5-0 lead. Two more runs scored after a leadoff error in the seventh after KCKCC had closed to 5-1 in the top of the seventh.
The lone KCKCC run came on a sacrifice fly by Norton after leadoff singles by Alex Thrower and Tanner Foerschler and Zane Mapes’ sacrifice bunt. Southpaw Aaron Schnurbusch (10-2), the pitcher of the year in the Jayhawk East, went the distance on an 8-hitter, walking one and striking out seven.
Facing elimination after the opening loss to KCKCC, JCCC (50-12) won six straight games including the last four in a period of 30 hours – eliminating Garden City 3-1 and Cowley 8-7 in 12 innings Sunday and then KCKCC 8-1 and 2-0. The win advances the Cavaliers to the NJCAA World Series for the first time since 2008.
Alan Hoskins is the sports information director for KCKCC.
The Unified Government Commission will hold a special session at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 15 in the Commission Chambers, lobby level, City Hall, 701 N. 7th St., Kansas City, Kan.
The meeting will be an installation ceremony for Doug Bach, county administrator, immediately followed by a discussion on the Community Development Block Grants. Preceding the installation ceremony will be a reception in the lobby from 4:30 to 5 p.m.
After the 7 p.m. commission meeting, a closed session is scheduled on litigation in the ninth floor conference room.
The agenda for the 7 p.m. UG meeting in the Commission Chambers includes:
– Honorary street name for Bishop Ervin Sims Jr., on 12th Street from Garfield Avenue to Jersey Creek Park.
– Recommendation to approve an option for a hike and bike trail on Fairfax Drainage District property. It will be on the lower levee maintenance road.
– Approval of the regional hazard mitigation plan for Wyandotte, Leavenworth and Johnson counties.
– Approval to submit a grant application to the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City for a Wyandotte River Trails Project, to communicate the importance and benefits of physical activity.
– Approval to submit a grant application to the Kansas Health Foundation for 2014-2015 Enroll Wyandotte Project, aimed at educating and enrolling Wyandotte County citizens into the Health Insurance Marketplace.
– Approval to submit a grant application to the Sunflower Foundation for a Document Imaging program, to allow replacement of outdated client data storage and retrieval system to include document interface with the current electronic health record system.
– A real estate purchase agreement with Loretto Properties regarding property at 736 Minnesota Ave. The company would pay $100,000 and would agree to invest $1 million to $1.5 million in redevelopment projects along Minnesota Avenue. As part of the agreement, the UG would agree to move up the 2017-2018 Minnesota Avenue improvements to 2014 for design and 2015 for improvements to the streetscape.
– An agreement for Lane4 Property Group to market the former Indian Springs mall site for sale. The property is at 4601 State Ave.
– An ordinance authorizing the issuance of up to $317,000 of transportation development district sales tax revenue refunding bonds for Happy Foods. The interest rate would be 4.5 percent for 10 years; the previous rate was 7.5 percent.
– An ordinance authorizing the issuance of up to $1.45 million of transportation development district sales tax revenue refunding bonds for the Prescott Plaza Project. The bonds are at 3 percent for a 10-year term; the previous financing was 4 percent.
– Resolutions setting two public hearings for June 26 for consider amending the public levee redevelopment district to allow for three separate project areas; consider the redevelopment project plan for project area 1 of the public levee redevelopment district.
– Plat of Genesis of Piper Phsae 2, 125th and Farrow, developed by Heartland Piper.
– Consider a public hearing to consider issuing up to $10 million of industrial revenue bonds and 65 percent abatement-payment in lieu of taxes for J.E. Dunn’s project at 240 S. 65th.
– An ordinance authorizing the issuance of up to $215 million of utility system improvement and refunding revenue bonds, to be used to fund up to $110 million in new projects nad the balance to refund the 2004 bonds and pay costs of issuance. The refunding is expected to generate about $9 million of interest cost savings through 2023.
– Proclamation of May as Mental Health Awareness Month.
– Land Bank items.
The agenda is online at www.wycokck.org.
Argentine Neighborhood Development Association has announced a donation of more than $675,000 in cash contributions, property, and park and community recreational improvements to the Unified Government of Wyandotte County.
These contributions include: the donation of the property valued at $500,000, where the new Public Safety Campus will be built; a $10,000 cash donation to the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department for new interior equipment for their offices which will be located on the new Public Safety Campus; improvements to Vega Field including three new park benches and two concrete pads for existing benches; new interior lighting for the restroom facilities; and improved tennis courts at Emerson Park which will include resurfacing of the courts, new fencing, nets and lighting.
“The projects we have been a part of have been very successful in both changing the face of the Argentine neighborhood and the lives of the people that live there. We felt like it made sense to continue plowing the economic gains these projects generated back into the neighborhoods so that the entire community could share in the project’s success.” said Ann Murguia, executive director of the Argentine Neighborhood Development Association.
These substantial contributions and improvements were made possible by leveraging the multi-million dollar redevelopment project that ANDA is engaged in on the 17-acre brownfield site located in Argentine. Tangible improvements like these help to provide the amenities and valuable local services that Argentine residents haven’t had access to in decades. ANDA is very proud of the infrastructure improvements, the community health programs, and the commercial and residential developments that Argentine has experienced in the last several years through ANDA’s work, a spokesman said. These have included raising the $1.6 million in charitable funds to build and open the new Save A Lot grocery store at 2102 Metropolitan Ave., the new Wal-Mart that is being built now and will open later this summer near the new Public Safety Campus site, and the construction of the new Simmons Villas 22-unit senior living project underway now.