by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
Hutchinson was as good as advertised in the opening round of the NJCAA Super-Regional playoffs Friday.
Ranked No. 3 nationally and the No. 1 seed in the Region VI playoffs, the Jayhawk West champion Broncbusters (46-11) rode the four-hit pitching of Nolan Hoffman to a 7-1 win over Kansas City Kansas Community College at Wichita’s Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
The loss sends the Blue Devils (40-20) into the loser’s bracket Saturday in a 1 p.m. game against the loser of the Johnson County-Dodge City game, the last on the opening day schedule.
A sophomore righthander, Hoffman struck out five and walked none in running his season’s record to 8-1. It was the fifth complete game of the season for Hoffman, who threw 122 pitches, 81 for strikes.
KCKCC’s lone run was unearned. Josh Schumacher led off the KCKCC fifth inning with a single and scored on a pair of errors by Hutch third baseman Cade Doge. The Blue Devils only other hits were singles by Tyler Pittman in the first, Alex Phillips in the fourth and L.A. Woodard in the eighth.
Hutchinson broke a 0-0 deadlock in the third inning, scoring twice off Blue Devil starter Jake Purl. Brady Hoover drove in both runs with a single after the Broncbusters loaded the bases on an error, walk and a single. Hutch added three more runs in the fourth.
Bobby Morgensen drove in two runs with a single after a double, walk and wild pitch and scored on Nolan Hakel’s triple. The Broncs final two runs came in the seventh on three singles and a ground ball off reliever Corey Cowan.
Purl worked four innings, allowing six hits and five runs, four of which were earned. He struck out five, walked three. Cowan pitched the final five innings, allowing three hits – all in the seventh inning. He struck out seven, walked one and hit one.