Blue Devils split but climb into tie for second in Jayhawk

Blue Devils split but climb into tie for second in Jayhawk

Unfortunately Kansas City Kansas Community College couldn't stockpile some unneeded runs and had to settle with splitting a doubleheader with Labette at Parsons Saturday.

            Scoring 11 runs in the top of the seventh, the Blue Devils won the 7-inning opener 19-4 only to drop a 10-5 decision in the 9-inning nightcap.

            The split vaulted the Blue Devils (13-7) into a tie for second place in the Jayhawk East with Fort Scott but dropped them two games back of league-leading Neosho County (15-5). The Blue Devils go right back on the road this week, playing a single game at Maple Woods Tuesday at 1 p.m. before returning to Jayhawk action Thursday for a doubleheader at Highland. The two teams will then return to KCKCC Saturday to complete the four-game series.

            The Blue Devils pounded out six home runs and 18 hits in the 19-4 opener led by Drew Holtgrieve, who drove in five runs with a pair of home runs and a single; Conor Behrens, who lashed out four hits including a home run and a double; and Eli Lovell, who drove in four runs with a home run and single. Albert Woodard added a pair of doubles, Ryan Fisher a home run and single and Travis Stroup a 2-run home run.

            Home runs were big in the game. Fisher's round-tripper started the scoring in the second and Behrens put KCKCC ahead to stay 4-2 with a 2-run shot in the fourth. Holtgrieve's first home run triggered a 3-run fifth inning and he had a 3-run homer in the 11-run seventh. Stroup started the big inning with a 2-run home run and Lovell finished it with a 3-run bomb. Three Blue Devils had two hits in the inning, Behrens with a single and 2-run double; and Holtgrieve and Lovell, each with a single and 3-run homers.

            Jake Purl got the win, allowing all four runs on five hits, walking five and striking out four in 4.2 innings. Avery Fliger came in to get the final seven outs, striking out four of the eight batters he faced.

            Chase Redick reached on an error, stole second and scored on Behrens' single to start the second game but the Blue Devils didn't score again until the fifth by which time they trailed 5-1. Ryan Fisher's two-run single, the first of his three hits, following two walks and a hit batsman cut the lead to 5-3 but Labette scored three more in the sixth and two in the seventh. 

            KCKCC's final two runs came in the seventh. Eli Lovell homered with one out and Fisher doubled and scored on Zach Mahoney's two-out single. The Blue Devils threatened in both the eighth and ninth innings, loading the bases in both innings but failed to score – stranding 14 baserunners for the game. Cameron Bednar took the loss, allowing six hits and five runs in four innings.