Kansas City Kansas Community College's 'thrill-a-minute' baseball team did it again Sunday.
Trailing Labette 3-0 in the bottom of the seventh, the Blue Devils tied it and then won it 4-3 with a run in the bottom of the ninth – the ninth time in 16 games KCKCC games have been decided by one run including four in extra innings.
Coupled with a 13-3 5-inning win in the opener, the Blue Devils improved to 10-6 in the Jayhawk Conference and pulled back into a fourth place tie with Johnson County. Allen County and Fort Scott top the standings at 12-4 followed by Cowley at 11-5. Home against Saint Mary today at 3 p.m., the Blue Devils resume conference play Thursday when they host Highland in a 1 p.m. twin bill.
Chase Redick's line drive single to leftfield with two out and the bases loaded won the nightcap 4-3 for the Blue Devils. Albert Woodard's two-out single ignited the winning rally and after a walk to Tyler Pittman, the Cardinals intentionally walked Alex Phillips and Redick foiled the strategy by ripping a 1-1 pitch to left.
Limited to just three hits and four base-runners over the first six innings by Cody Oliphant, the Blue Devils finally broke through in the seventh, scoring three times on a hit batsman and singles by Brandon Green, Josh Schumacher and Pittman.
The rally made a winner out of Turner sophomore righthander Cowan, who turned in his best pitching effort of the season. His pitch count limited early in the season because of an injury last fall, Cowan went the 9-inning distance allowing just seven hits, striking out seven and walking one. After giving up two runs in the first, Cowan allowed only one run and five hits over the final eight innings.
Trailing 2-0 in the opener, the Blue Devils exploded for 13 runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings in the 13-3 win. Southpaw Shae Stephens ran his record to 4-1, allowing six hits while striking out five and walking two.
Josh Schumacher, who had three hits, got the Blue Devils scoring started in the third on with a leadoff triple. After a walk and two errors, Drew Holtgrieve and Easton Fortuna put KCKCC ahead 4-2 with run-scoring singles. Pittman doubled in two runs and Phillips singled in two more in a 6-run fourth inning after the Blue Devils loaded the bases on a single by Brandon Still and bunt hits by Brandon Green and Schumacher.
The Blue Devils then ended it with a 3-run fifth on two walks, a single by Schumacher, double by Woodard and single by Pittman.
Photo by Jim Cronin