by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
Kansas City Kansas Community College paid heavily for its mistakes Sunday afternoon as the Blue Devils were sent to the NJCAA Central District playoff sidelines by a 10-6 loss to Johnson County.
Capitalizing on six unearned runs, the Cavaliers built a 9-2 lead and then choked off a KCKCC comeback for the win at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita.
The loss ended the Blue Devils season at 34-26. Johnson County (28-23) was then eliminated by a 12-11 loss to Hutchinson Sunday night.
In the winner’s bracket, Cowley College nipped Barton County 6-5 to advance to the championship game.
Brandon Still tripled and doubled and Josh Schumacher and Kevin Santiago both doubled and singled to pace a 10-hit KCKCC attack but it wasn’t enough to overcome a 13-hit Cavalier assault that included a pair of home runs and was aided by eight walks and two costly KCKCC errors.
The big inning again hurt the Blue Devils, who took a 1-0 lead in the third on a walk, double by Schumacher and Tyler Pittman’s ground ball only to give up five runs in the bottom of the inning, all of which were unearned.
JCCC tied the game on a walk, single and two-out error and then went deep to take the lead. Chaz Burgess made it 4-1 with a three-run home run to right-center and Jake Kuest followed with a solo shot.
KCKCC cut the deficit to 5-2 in the fourth when Still tripled and scored on a Gavin Gifford single only to have the Cavaliers score two runs each in the fifth and sixth innings to open a 9-2 bulge.
Matt Johnson’s single after an error and a walk scored JCCC’s two runs in the fifth. Burgess’ single drove in both Cavalier runs in the sixth– his fourth and fifth RBI’s of the game.
The Blue Devils made one big comeback bid in the seventh, scoring four runs to cut their deficit to 9-6.
Singles by Kemper Bednar and Schumacher sandwiched around a walk ignited the rally. Two runs scored on wild pitches, Rorey Combs’ sacrifice fly scored the third and Still doubled for the fourth run.
However, Dylan Bierman came on in relief to shut the Blue Devils down on Still’s double and a Brigham Mooney single the final 2 2/3 innings.
Starter Carlos Soto took the loss, giving up five hits and five runs (none earned) in 2 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked two.
Gifford worked the next 3 1/3 innings, allowing six hits and four runs (one unearned) before Victor Gotay and Julian Rivera finished out with an inning each.