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Dramatic extra inning finish rallies KCKCC past JCCC 7-5

Dramatic extra inning finish rallies KCKCC past JCCC 7-5


            A word to the wise: Do not leave a Kansas City Kansas Community College baseball games early.

            For the fourth time this spring, the Blue Devils won in their last time at bat, this time in the most dramatic of fashion – a two-out, three-run home run by sophomore first baseman Conor Behrens for a come-from-behind 7-5, 8-inning win over arch-rival Johnson County Saturday.

            It was the first of two games that went right down to the final inning, Johnson County scoring six times in the top of the seventh to break a 2-2 tie in an 8-2 win. The Blue Devils are right back in action today, hosting Rockhurst JV at 3 p.m. in a game moved up from Tuesday to avoid possibility of rain.

            The Blue Devils led the opener 3-1 going into the seventh only to have JCCC pull even on a bloop single and a home run by Miles Stark and then went ahead 5-3 on a hit batsman, a single by Chaz Burgess and a pinch two-run double by Maurice Bruce.

            Travis Stroup and Eli Lovell ignited the Blue Devils' game-winning rally in the eighth with back-to-back singles with one out. After Drew Holtgrieve drew a walk to load the bases, Levi Froud scored one run with a ground ball to set the stage for Behrens. A right-hand hitter, Behrens crushed an opposite field home run over the fence in right-center for the win.

"The wind might have helped a little but I thought he hit it well," said KCKCC Coach Matt Goldbeck. "I thought our guys did an awesome job of staying in the game and not giving up. They just kept the line moving when we had to have it."

            The Blue Devils built their 3-1 lead on single runs in the first, second and sixth. A walk and singles by Stroup and Lovell scored the first run; Malone Smith singled, went to third on Easton Fortuna's double and scored on a Chase Redick ground ball in the second; and Zach Mahoney singled in a run after a hit batsman and stolen base in the sixth. Jake Purl pitched the first five innings, allowing just three hits and one run. Avery Fliger worked the final three innings for the win.

            KCKCC managed just three hits in the nightcap but still had a chance with the game tied 2-2 in the top of the seventh. However, the Cavaliers took advantage of three hit batsman to score six runs on five hits for the 8-2 win.

            KCKCC's two runs came in the second on a single by Mahoney, a double by Behrens and a squeeze bunt by Albert Woodard. Easton Fortuna had the only other Blue Devil hit, a two-out double in the fifth. Ross Perez worked the first 5.1 innings, allowing five hits and two runs. Chad Cox was charged with the loss.

Conor Behrens
Picture by: Shawn Smith