A NO HITTER, A FIVE RUN 9th INNING RALLY AND TWO WALK OFF WINS
After EJ Merlo kept Game 1 quite uneventful with a complete game no-hitter, KCKCC would make Game 2 a sight to see with 5 runs in the 9th to sweep the series against Highland Community College.
Game 1 starter EJ Merlo picked up his 5th consecutive win of the season with a 5 inning complete game shutout and NO HITTER. EJ did surrender 3 free passes in the game, 2 in the 1st and 1 in the 5th. Those 2 innings were the only time a Scottie hitter would achieve second base. Merlo used just 63 pitches in 5 innings and was the model of pitch efficiency. He would use 4 pitches or less on 26 of the 27 batters he faced.
After scoring 1 run in the opening frame, KCK would explode for 8 runs in the 2nd inning. 8 of the Blue Devil's 13 hits would come in that inning and Daniel LaMunyon would provide the most damaging blow. With 2 on and 2 out Daniel would drive the first pitch over the left-field foul pole, only to have it be called foul. 2 pitches later LaMunyon removed all doubt by banging another fastball high over the left-field wall, this time in the left-center-field gap.
With the score 9-0 in the 5th, Garrett McKinzie would close the game out for KCK with his bat. He smashed the first pitch of the at bat off of the wall in deep center-field scoring Zane Mapes all the way from first base. McKinzie's RBI double would give the Devils the 10 run after 5 inning run rule. Lucas Norton and Zane Mapes both scored 2 runs on 2 hits in the game.
KCKCC seemed to be in total control of the day until they ran into the Game 2 starter for Highland, Brett Norris. Norris tied KCK in knots for 8 innings allowing just 6 hits and 3 earned runs. Highland had to pull the Atchison, KS native to start the 9th because of his 120 pitches. KCK wasted no time in jumping on the Scottie bullpen. Pinch-hitter Hunter Walsh would start the inning with a hard single into right-field. Mapes and Norton would follow with chopped ground-balls that were both perfectly placed between the Scottie third-baseman and shortstop. Tyler Raymond would then single, driving in pinch-runner Easton Edmond to cut the lead to 3. With the bases loaded and no outs, Highland was forced to pitch to KCK's two RBI leaders, Garrett McKinzie and Christian Arnold. As fate would have it, McKinzie would end up being the only out the Scotties could record. He popped up and left the bases loaded for Arnold. Arnold would quickly go down 0-2 in the count. Then the momentum would turn for good. Christian would take the next pitch in the elbow, cutting the lead to 2. Pinch-hitter, Sam Baxter would then tie the game with a 2 run single. Highland would then intentionally walk Tanner Thibodeau after Baxter stole second base. So with the bases loaded and a tie game, Danny Kralicek would provide the final blow. Danny laced the first pitch he saw off of the top of the left-field wall snatching the win and earning the Blue Devils their 4th 4-game conference sweep of the year.
KCKCC will play a home double-header this Tuesday versus Rockhurst University's JV program. They will then conclude the KJCCC Eastern Conference regular season with a 4 game set against Allen County Community College. KCK currently sits alone in 5th place in the Jayhawk Eastern Conference. They are one game back of 4th, two games back of 3rd and three games out of second.