With Lucas Norton and Tanner Foerschler leading the way, the Blue Devils of Kansas City Kansas Community College unleashed the biggest hit assault of the season Tuesday, pounding out 19 hits in a 12-7 win at Brown Mackie.
A sophomore centerfielder from Liberty, Norton was a perfect 4-for-4 with three doubles and a single and an RBI while Foerschler, a freshman first baseman from Harrisonville, was a double shy of hitting for the cycle with a single, triple and home run and four runs batted in.
The win sets up a big four-game series with perennial Jayhawk Conference power Cowley, which is locked in a three-way tie with Johnson County and Coffeyville for the league lead, all at 12-0.
The four-game set opens at Cowley Thursday and then returns to KCKCC for a Saturday twin bill starting at 1 p.m.
Daniel LaMunyon doubled and singled twice, Sam Baxter singled three times and Christian Arnold and Garrett McKinzie each drove in a pair of runs with two hits each as KCKCC improved to 8-15.
The Blue Devils took a 1-0 lead in the first on Norton’s leadoff double and an RBI single by Arnold and then scored five times on five hits in the second after Brown Mackie had tied the game.
Foerschler had the big blow, a 2-run triple following hits by LaMunyon and Baxter, and McKinzie drove in two more runs following Norton’s second double and a walk. KCKCC built a 8-2 lead behind the pitching of Spencer Nielsen only to have Brown Mackie close to 8-6 with four unearned runs in the sixth.
However, the Blue Devils bounced right back in the seventh. Zane Mapes’ squeeze bunt following a double by LaMunyon and single by Baxter scored one run and Foerschler’s home run scored two more.
Nielsen, who had pitched two innings of relief on Monday, got his first win, allowing just one earned run while scattering eight hits and striking out two in 5.1 innings.
Adam Rea worked the final 3.1 innings for his first save, giving up just one run and five hits.
“Lucas Norton had another great day at the plate,” said KCKCC coach Steve Burleson. “He’s up to hitting.488 now and Foreschler was big with the home run and four RBI. Coming off pitching in relief a day earlier, Spencer Nielsen gave us some good innings.”
Steve Burleson has been around baseball far more than his 35 years as head coach at Kansas City Kansas Community College but in all those years, he’s never seen an ending like the one that completed a Blue Devil sweep of Dakota County Technical College Monday.
“We won on a bases-loaded squeeze play in which our batter didn’t get the bunt down but the catcher missed the ball and it hit the umpire in the middle of the chest protector and we scored the winning run,” said Burleson of the come-from-behind 4-3 win. “I had never seen that play before.”
Dakota County had gone ahead with an unearned run in the top of ninth 3-2 before the Blue Devils scored the tying run on a successful squeeze bunt by Lucas Norton following a walk, wild pitch and Alex Thrower’s bunt single. After a bunt to move the runners to second and third, Garrett McKinzie was walked intentionally to load the bases to set up the bizarre finish.
Jonathan May pitched the first 6.1 innings, allowing just five hits, two runs and striking out four with Eric Hinostroza getting the win in relief, giving up just one hit, fanning three and allowing no earned runs.
Thrower doubled and singled and Norton singled twice to lead KCKCC’s 6-hit attack.
The Blue Devils also had to come from behind for a 5-2 win in the opener.
Trailing 2-0, the Blue Devils scored all five of their runs in a rally highlighted by Christian Arnold’s bases-loaded triple.
A pinch single by Mitch Glessner following a walk and a one-out single by Norton scored KCKCC’s first run. McKinzie then singled to load the bases and Arnold cleared them with his triple to straight away centerfield. Daniel LaMunyon added the fifth run with an RBI single.
KCKCC had nine hits including a double and single by McKinzie and two by Norton.
Southpaw Cole Frakes got his first pitching win, allowing just four hits, no earned runs and striking out four. Spencer Nielsen wrapped up the win, allowing just one hit in two innings for his first save.
“Frakes and May both gave us good innings and Nielsen and Hinostroza came in and threw strikes,” Burleson said.
The Blue Devils returned to the road Tuesday, playing a doubleheader at Brown Mackie before taking on yet another Jayhawk Conference power Cowley Thursday at Arkansas City and Saturday at home.
Cowley, Johnson County and Coffeyville, the team the Blue Devils play next week, are all 12-0 in Jayhawk play.