Stung by an 8-1 opening game loss Thursday, Kansas City Kansas Community College rebounded with an 11-1 thumping of No. 1 ranked Neosho County.
The split dropped the Blue Devils into a three-way tie for second place in the Jayhawk East with Johnson County and Allen County, all 23-11. JCCC swept Fort Scott 3-2 and 8-1 Thursday while Cowley was defeating Allen County 8-1 and 13-3. Fort Scott and JCCC will close out their conference play today while KCKCC will be at Neosho and Allen at Cowley on Saturday.
Sophomore Brandon Reid provided the pitching and Travis Stroup the power in the Blue Devils' 11-1 win. Facing the No. 1 team in the NJCAA Division I rankings that had pounded out 14 hits in the 8-1 opener, Reid had a no-hitter through five innings and finished with a 2-hitter while walking three and striking out two. Reid set the Panthers down in order in four of the seven innings. Neosho's only run came on a single by Chad Thomas and a double by Brylie Ward in the sixth inning.
Stroup drove in five runs with four straight hits including a 3-run home run in the first inning that gave Reid all the working room he needed. Second baseman Easton Fortuna also had four hits, Chase Redick doubled and singled twice, Eli Lovell doubled and singled and Ryan Fisher delivered a big bases-loaded double that put the game out of reach.
Redick led off the game with a single and after an error, Stroup hit his 11th home run of the season off the foul pole in rightfield for a 3-0 lead and the Blue Devils added four more runs in the second. After singles by Fortuna, Conor Behrens and Stroup scored one run, Fisher cleared the bases with a ringing double to left-center.
The Blue Devils added an eighth run in the fourth on a single by Stroup and double by Lovell; two more in the fifth on a single by Fortuna, a double by Redick and a single by Stroup; and then spread the margin to 10 runs on singles by Albert Woodard and Fortuna.
Fortuna, who was 6-for-6 for the day, had two hits and drove in the Blue Devils' only run with a second inning double in the 8-1 opener. Stroup also had a perfect 5-for-5 day with a single in his only time at bat as righthander Mason Knopp stopped the Blue Devils on just five hits. Neosho took the lead 4-1 in the third on five hits off starter Dustin Eby and added three runs in the fifth as the first four hitters had hits against Eby and reliever Cameron Bednar.
PHOTO IDENTS (Fortuna double)
Easton Fortuna easily beats the throw on his run-scoring double in the second inning in KCKCC's 8-1 loss to No. 1 ranked Neosho County Thursday. Fortuna also had a single and four more hits in the Blue Devils' 11-1 nightcap win for a perfect 6-for-6 day at the plate/ (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)