by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
With one exception, Kansas City Kansas Community College scored a wealth of runs on its annual spring trip to Texas but not enough to prevent a four-game split.
The Blue Devils opened with a 13-1 win over Eastfield Community College on Friday and took the opening game of a doubleheader 9-8 on Saturday only to be blanked 7-0 in the nightcap and drop a 9-8 decision to Brookhaven on Sunday.
The Blue Devils now return home for a five-game home stand starting with doubleheaders with Northeast Nebraska Saturday and Sunday starting at noon each day.
“A good start, especially fighting back to win Saturday’s first game and again on Sunday,” KCKCC coach Matt Goldbeck said. “Even though we scored big in three games, I feel like we can be even better offensively. Pitching-wise, it’s going to be a work in progress in developing our bullpen.”
Standout pitching performances highlighted the two wins. Veteran southpaw Osvaldo Mendez allowed just three hits and one run in six innings of the 13-1 win Friday and Basehor-Linwood freshman Chase Terrell pitched 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief as the Blue Devils rallied for the 9-8 win Saturday.
Terrell came on in relief of starter Gaby Ramos with the Blue Devils trailing 8-3 and gave up just two hits, walking two and striking out two for his first collegiate win.
Griffin Everitt and Palmer Hutchinson provided the early offense with home runs before the Blue Devils won it with six runs on six hits in the bottom of the sixth.
Zayne Morrow started the winning rally with a double and after a walk, Lansing’s Caleb Adams and Raymond Paniagua singled in runs. After Everitt was hit with a base-loaded pitch, Eduardo Acosta singled in two runs, Tyler Henry singled and Hutchinson gave KCKCC the lead with a 2-run double.
Hutchinson also had a solo home run in the fourth and Everitt homered and Jose Sosa singled in a run in a 2-run first.
However, the Blue Devils were limited to just two hits in the 7-0 second game loss – a leadoff triple by Seth Kenagy in the first and a 2-out single by Everitt in the third.
Jackson Phillips worked the first six innings for Richland, striking out nine and walking three. Starter Tyler Kapraun gave up four runs on two hits and four walks and Palmer Waddle three runs on five hits before Nao Fukuda finished with 1.1 scoreless innings, striking out two.
KCKCC trailed 4-0 and 7-4 before Brookhaven walked off a 9-8 win Sunday. Sosa homered and singled and Kenagy, Adams and Cole Slilbowski had two hits each for the Blue Devils.
Trailing 4-0, KCKCC tied the game in the seventh. Singles by Henry, Sosa and Adams scored one run, Slibowski’s sacrifice fly scored another and Kenagy tied it with a 2-out, 2-run single.
Brookhaven retook a 7-4 lead but the Blue Devils pulled even again on Sosa’s 2-run home run and hits by Adams and Slibowski.
After Jonathan Boyer’s leadoff home run in the eighth put Brookhaven back in front 8-7, KCKCC pulled even in the ninth on a Kenagy single and an error only to have Brookhaven win in the ninth on a double, balk and one-out wild pitch. The Blue Devils used five pitchers, Josiah Crowley, Jake Shafer, Hunter Cashero, Fukada and Mathis Mauldin.
Mendez got the Blue Devils started on the road trip with a win Friday, allowing no hits over the first 5 1/3 innings in the 13-1 win over Richland.
Mendez struck out six in six innings and walked none before Cashero, Steven Santiago and Maulden finished up, each working one scoreless inning.
“A dominant performance by Mendez,” Goldbeck said. “He really pounded the strike zone.”
Acosta belted a 3-run home run and drove in four runs; Kenagy singled twice and scored three times; and Everitt drove in a pair of runs for the Blue Devils, who were the beneficiary of 12 walks and three hit batsmen.
Acosta’s 3-run homer highlighted a 4-run second inning and the Blue Devils scored six times in the fifth on just one hit, a 2-run single by Everitt.