by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
Temperatures in the low 40s weren’t enough to cool off Kansas City Kansas Community College’s hot bats Tuesday.
Pounding out 16 hits including five triples, the Blue Devils defeated Saint Mary junior varsity in a 15-8 slugfest.
The win evened KCKCC’s record at 10-10 and set up a pivotal four-game series with Labette (6-11) starting Thursday with a home doubleheader at 1 p.m. The two teams then complete the series with a twin bill at Parsons Saturday.
The middle infield duo of shortstop Kevin Santiago and second baseman Brigham Mooney powered the Blue Devils Tuesday.
Each drove in five runs, Mooney with two triples and a home run and Santiago with five hits including a two-run triple. Outfielder
Rorey Combs also had two triples and a single and Josh Schumacher singled twice and scored three times.
The Blue Devils built a 6-1 lead through the first five innings behind the pitching of freshman lefthander Hunter Paxton of Mill Valley, who allowed one run and three hits and retired 11 Spires in a row before tiring in the sixth.
Three straight hits, a one-out error and another single kayoed Paxton.
Reliever Ethan Baltz gave up two more runs on a single and a hit batsman with the bases-loaded before Allan Brown got the final two outs.
The 6-run inning put Saint Mary in front 7-6 but the lead didn’t last out the inning.
Santiago put KCKCC ahead 8-7 with a 2-run triple following a Schumacher single and a walk and Mooney made it 11-7 with a bases-loaded triple.
The Blue Devils added three more runs in the seventh, loading the bases on singles by Julius King and Schumacher and a walk to set up Santiago’s fifth straight hit, a 2-run single. Mooney then closed out the scoring with a home run to right-center in the eighth.
Combs’ two triples highlighted the scoring of KCKCC’s first four runs.
Back-to-back triples by Combs and Mooney made it 2-1 in the second and a walk, Santiago’s RBI single and Combs’ second triple made it 4-1 in the third.
Singles by Santiago and Combs and a two-base error extended the KCKCC lead to 6-1 in the fifth.
Allan Brown got the pitching win, allowing one hit in 1.2 innings. Gunner Vestal struck out one in a perfect eighth inning and Julian Rivera finished up, giving up an unearned run on a hit, walk and strikeout.