Nothing like a no-hitter and a walk-off home run to spice up Kansas City Kansas Community College's first big baseball home stand over the weekend.
Shae Stephens and Cole Gacke combined on a no-hitter in a 5-0 win over North Iowa in the opener of a doubleheader Sunday after Brandon Still put the finishing touches of a twin bill sweep with a game-winning two-run home in the bottom of the seventh for a 4-2 win Saturday. A 13-1 winner in Saturday's opener, the Blue Devils' bid for a four-game sweep ended a 5-2 loss in Sunday's nightcap.
The Blue Devils (7-4) are right back in action Tuesday, hosting Baker JV in one 9-inning game at 2 p.m. before diving into the Jayhawk Conference schedule against perennial power and odds-on favorite Cowley College in a doubleheader Thursday starting at 1 p.m. The Blue Devils then close out the week with a twin bill at Cowley on Saturday.
A lefthanded sophomore from Mill Valley, Stephens struck out eight and walked three in five innings in Sunday's 5-0 opening win before Liberty North freshman Cole Gacke closed out the no-hitter, striking out four and walking two. KCKCC took a 2-0 lead in the third. After a leadoff single by Josh Schumacher, Drew Holtgrieve delivered a triple and scored on one of two singles by Alex Phillips. Albert Woodard also had two hits including an RBI double in the fourth and Still doubled in the final run in the sixth.
However, the Blue Devils managed just two hits of four North Iowa pitchers in the nightcap, singles by Easton Fortuna and Still, in the 5-2 loss. North Iowa, meanwhile, had nine hits off four KCKCC hurlers.
A freshman from Springdale, Ark., Brandon Still wrote a dramatic finish to a come-from-behind 4-2 win in Saturday's nightcap. Trailing 2-0 going into the bottom of the sixth, the Blue Devils tied it on a triple by Schumacher and doubles by Tyler Pittman and Phillips. Zach Mahoney then led off the seventh with a single and Still hammered the second pitch he saw over the fence in left-center. "A no doubter," said KCKCC assistant coach Bill Sharp. The home run made a winner out of Luke Ostenson, who struck out two in one inning of relief after Chad Cox had given up two runs on four hits while striking out six in six innings.
The top three hitters in the Blue Devil lineup combined for eight hits and eight RBI in the 13-1 win Saturday. Leadoff hitter Albert Woodard drove in three runs with a single, triple and his second home run of the season; Tyler Pittman tripled and singled twice and drove in two runs; and Drew Holtgrieve knocked in three runs with a pair of singles. Zach Mahoney also launched his first home run and Still tripled in the 13-hit assault.
Sophomore Jacob Purl allowed no hits in four innings before Colton Kenagy and Cameron Bednar finished up. Purl, who has not allowed an earned run in three starts this season, struck out six and walked two.
"Our pitching staff as a whole pitched well, striking out 38 batters (out of 84 outs) and allowing just eight runs against a team that traditionally is a good-hitting team," said KCKCC Coach Matt Goldbeck. "And we hit the ball well. Albert Woodard had a very good weekend with six hits in 11 times at bat with a double, triple and home run and two stolen bases."
Photo by Jim Cronin