Kansas City Kansas Community College took a major step in securing a home playoff berth Thursday with a sweep of Fort Scott highlighted by a dramatic extra inning rally.
Trailing in the opener 11-10, the Blue Devils scored twice with two out in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 12-11 win and then rode the pitching of Brandon Reid to a 3-0 win in the nightcap.
The win kept KCKCC (21-9) in second place three games back of No. 4 ranked Neosho County (24-6) and one game in front of Johnson County (20-10) and moved the Blue Devils two games ahead of Cowley (19-11), four in front of Allen County (17-13) and six ahead of Fort Scott (15-15). KCKCC will wind up its four-game series at Fort Scott Saturday before hosting Neosho County Thursday in the final Jayhawk series of the season.
Ryan Fisher and Drew Holtgrieve delivered in the clutch in the opening 12-11 win. Fort Scott had taken an 11-10 lead on a Darren Hasch home run in the top of the eighth when Fisher followed a one-out walk to Travis Stroup with a two-out run-scoring double to left center and then scored the game-winner on Holtgrieve's single to right-center. The two-out rally made a winner out of Cameron Bednar, who allowed just three hits in four innings of relief.
The middle of the Blue Devils lineup combined for 11 hits and 10 runs-batted-in. Eli Lovell and Holtgrieve each drove in three runs with three hits, Fisher drove in three with a pair of doubles and Stroup had two doubles and a single and scored four times.
Trailing 3-0 on the first of two Nick Banman home runs, the first six Blue Devils to come to the plate in the bottom of the first scored. After a pair of walks, Stroup singled to load the bases, Lovell singled in two, Fisher doubled in one and Holtgrieve singled in two and then scored from second base on Easton Fortuna's ground ball.
However, Fort Scott bounced right back with four runs in the second and had a lead of 10-7 in the fourth. A triple by Conor Behrens, a double by Stroup and Fisher's sacrifice fly closed the gap to 10-9 in the bottom the fourth and the Blue Devils pulled even on a double by Stroup and a single by Lovell in the bottom of the sixth to set up the extra-inning win.
` Brandon Reid turned in one of his best pitching performances of the season in the 3-0 nightcap, allowing just four hits, walking three and striking out two. Only one runner reached third against Reid, who did not allow more than one base runner in any inning.
Scoreless through four innings, the Blue Devils finally broke through in the fifth on singles by Fisher, Holtgrieve and Daulton Smith and then added a pair of insurance runs on Travis Stroup's eighth home run of the season following a one-out wal