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.