Late Butler Rallies End Blue Devils' Baseball Season At 33-25
A season-long trend of failing to close out games reared its ugly head one last time for Kansas City Kansas Community College in Region VI baseball playoff action.
A 13-7 winner over Butler County in the opener of a best-of-three series at El Dorado Saturday, the Blue Devils could not hold a 7-3 lead in the ninth inning and an 8-7 lead in the 10th inning as the Grizzlies twice rallied for a 9-8 win. Forced into a third game Sunday, the Blue Devils spotted Butler a 4-0 lead in the first inning and never could catch up, losing 6-2. The loss closed out the Blue Devils' season at 33-25.
KCKCC jumped off to a 4-0 lead in the first inning of the opener on singles by Tanner Foerschler, Daniel LaMunyon, Sam Baxter, Eli Lovell and Landon Mason. Travis Stroup's solo homer in the third made it 5-0 only to have Butler get even with five runs in the bottom of the third. KCKCC made the most of four bases on balls to regain the lead 7-5 in the fifth and then put the game out of reach on a 2-run single by Baxter and a 2-run double by Lovell in a 5-run ninth inning.
Baxter finished with three hits and Foerschler, Stroup, Lovell, Mason and Tyler Raymond two each in a 14-hit assault. Working in relief of starter Jonathan May, Preston Bailey got the win, allowing five hits and two runs in 5.1 innings.
KCKCC jumped off to a 4-0 first inning lead in Saturday's second game on a single by Thrower and run-scoring doubles by Stroup, LaMunyon and Lovell and then opened its lead to 7-3 in the top of the ninth on a 2-run home run by Stroup. However, the Grizzlies took advantage of four walks and three hits to tie the game with four runs in the bottom of the ninth.
The Blue Devils regained the lead 8-7 in the top of the 10th on Thrower's run-scoring single following a leadoff single by Mason but left the bases loaded. Butler then won it in the bottom of the inning, scoring the tying and winning runs on four straight walks after a leadoff single and double.
Tyler Dunn allowed six hits and three runs over the first six innings before giving way to four relievers. Stroup, Thrower and LaMunyon had two hits each and Foerschler and Lovell doubles in KCKCC's 9-hit attack.
Butler used the long ball to win the pivotal third game 6-2. Cory Slater had the big blast, a 3-run shot in the first inning off starter Ross Perez in the first to give the Grizzlies a 4-0 lead. Dalton Kincaid worked the final 7.1 innings, allowing seven hits including home runs to Slater and Ty Redington in the seventh and eighth innings.
KCKCC collected 11 hits but the Blue Devils left 17 runners on base including the bases loaded three times. The Blue Devils' only two runs came in the fourth on a hit batsman, singles by Thrower and Foeschler and Lovell's ground ball. Thrower had three singles, Raymond a double and single and Mason a double to lead KCKCC.