Words to the wise: Do not leave a Kansas City Kansas Community College baseball game until the final pitch.
For the fourth time in 10 Jayhawk Conference games this spring, the Blue Devils went extra innings Thursday – coming from behind for a 7-6 win in 11 innings over Independence. Coming on the heels of Jake Purl's 3-hit 3-0 shutout in the opener, the Blue Devils extended their winning streak to four and climbed into a tie for fourth place in the Jayhawk just two games out of first. Six of the 10 games have been decided by one run.
Allen County and Fort Scott share the lead at 8-2 followed by Cowley (7-3) and KCKCC and Johnson County, both 6-4. KCKCC will complete its four-game set Saturday with a doubleheader at Independence and then return home to host Longview in a single 9-inning game Tuesday at 2 p.m.
"Our pitching has been good and it's always good to not give in and find a way to come back and win games," said KCKCC Coach Matt Goldbeck, whose week started Sunday with 7-1 and 4-2 wins over Coffeyville
Purl improved his record to 4-0 by striking out eight and walking four. Only one Pirate reached third base against the lanky sophomore righthander from Park Hill South. The Blue Devils scored the only run they needed in the second when Brandon Green doubled and scored on Easton Fortuna's single. They added the final two runs in the fifth. After a Josh Schumacher single and an Albert Woodard sacrifice, Tyler Pittman tripled for one run and scored on Alex Phillips' single.
The second game was not nearly as easy. The Blue Devils led twice at 3-2 and 4-3 only to have Indy's Britt Stroth put the Pirates in front 6-4 with a 3-run home run in the eighth inning and it took a 2-run rally with help in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. Fortuna started the game-tying rally with a single and after a walk, Indy hurler Anthony Moore threw Drew Holtgrieve's bunt into right field to score both KCKCC runners.
The Blue Devils then won it in the bottom of the 11th on Alex Phillips' one-out single after a hit batsman, wild pitch and two intentional walks had loaded the bases. Shawnee Heights freshman Luke Ostenson got his fifth win without a loss with two innings of one-hit relief after getting his third save in the opener.
Phillips drove in three runs in the second game including his fourth home run that broke a 3-3 tie in the sixth. The Blue Devils' first three runs came in the third. After a Holtgriewe single, Woodard doubled for one run and a walk and Phillips sing escored two more. Easton Fortuna joined Phillips with three hits.
Southpaw Shae Stephens allowed just four hits, striking out seven and walking four in Sunday's 7-1 win over Coffeyville. Chase Redick supplied all the offense that was needed, ripping solo home runs his first two times at bat and finishing with three RBI while Phillips drove in a pair with a 2-out single in the sixth.
Josh Schumacher provided the big blow in the 4-2 nightcap win, a 2-out bases-loaded single in the bottom of the eighth that scored the winning runs. The hit came after singles by Redick and Fortuna and a hit batsman loaded the bases. KCKCC trailed 1-0 entering the seventh before the Blue Devils went ahead on a double by Brandon Green and singles by Zach Mahoney and Schumacher.
Ostenson got the win, finishing the game with a pair of strikeouts after surrendering the tying run in the eighth on a walk and a pair of singles. Corey Cowan worked the first six innings and had a shutout in the sixth when Coffeyville scored on a triple and double. He allowed four hits and struck out seven.