Bizarre finish as Blue Devils rally twice for wins

Garrett McKinzie had good reason to grin as he scored the third of three runs driven in by Christian Arnold’s 3-run triple in KCKCC’s come-from-behind 5-2 win over Dakota County Monday. McKinzie was greeted by Lucas Norton (3) and Alex Thrower (19), who had just scored the tying and go-ahead runs. (KCKCC photo by Matt Fowler)

by Alan Hoskins

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.

A determined KCKCC southpaw Cole Frakes delivered a pitch en route to his first win of the season Monday, a 5-2 decision over Dakota County. The Blue Devils completed a sweep with a 4-3 nightcap win. (KCKCC photo by Matt Fowler)

Sporting KC to play Manchester City in KCK this summer

Sporting KC will hold a Summer in the Soccer Capital series of events this summer, featuring an international friendly against Manchester City of the English Premier League on July 23 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

“It is a pleasure to host a world-class club like Manchester City. It will be a great event not only for our fans, but our players as well to measure ourselves against one of the best teams in all of soccer,” said Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes.

“The team is excited and will be ready to face another Premier League team,” said Sporting KC captain Matt Besler. “We have so many memories from the last time we played a team from Manchester and now playing at Sporting Park will make this even better.”

It will be Manchester’s first international friendly against an MLS club since it on the English Premier League and also the first match on its tour of the United States this summer.

Manchester’s forward Sergio Aguero ranks third in the Premier League with 15 goals this season, while Yaya Toure’s 13 goals are tied for fourth most among Premier League players. Fellow attackers Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas and David Silva all feature for the world’s No. 1 ranked national team, Spain, and the club’s defense is anchored by England goalkeeper Joe Hart along with a backline of Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy and Martin Demichelis.

Ticket information for the July 23 match will be announced later.

The Summer in the Soccer Capital event will begin with FIFA World Cup watch parties to be held in the Power and Light District of Kansas City, Mo., according to an announcement from the soccer club.

Admission will be free to the outdoor area at the Power and Light District.

Beginning with the opening match on June 12 and continuing through the World Cup final on July 13, all 64 matches will be shown on a large outdoor video screen in the center at the Power and Light District.

Sporting KC loans three players to USL PRO affiliates

Sporting Kansas City announced on Monday that the club has agreed to loan three players to the team’s official USL PRO affiliates.

Midfielder Mikey Lopez will join reigning USL PRO champions Orlando City SC. goalkeeper Jon Kempin and midfielder Christian Duke will be added to OKC Energy FC’s roster for its inaugural season.

Duke, 22, returns to the USL PRO after a successful first professional season with Orlando City SC in 2013. The Overland Park, Kan. native and Sporting KC Academy alum was named the team’s top rookie, contributing one goal and one assist in 22 games and starting in the USL PRO championship.

Kempin will also spend a second straight season in the USL PRO after making 34 saves in nine games for the Lions last year.

Sporting Kansas City’s first homegrown player, the 20-year-old Kempin is now in his fifth professional season and will continue his development under OKC Energy FC head coach and former MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Jimmy Nielsen. Kempin, a Leawood, Kan. native, has extensive experience for the United States at the Youth National Team level and most recently joined the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team in 2013.

Selected in the first round of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft out of North Carolina as a Generation adidas signing, Lopez enters his second professional season in 2014.

The 21-year-old midfielder made his professional debut for Sporting Kansas City in the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and his rookie season was highlighted by his participation in the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup. He appeared in all three matches for the U.S. in the tournament after helping to lead the United States to a runner-up finish at the U-20 CONCACAF Championship.

Orlando City SC and OKC Energy FC are among the 14 USL PRO teams competing in the 28-game regular season beginning March 22 and continuing through Sept. 7. All USL PRO games will be streamed live online via team YouTube channels in 2014.

Sporting Kansas City will have the option to recall any of the team’s three players during the loan period.