2018-2019 Blue Devil Baseball News
Blue Devils rally with two-out hits from 10th straight winMarch 12, 2019Just when things looked the gloomiest, Kansas City Kansas Community College launched a two-out comeback for a 7-4 win Monday over Metropolitan Community College-Maple Woods. The win was the 10th in a row for the Blue Devils (12-5), who return to Jayhawk Conference play this weekend. Originally scheduled for a home doubleheader with Highland Thursday, that twin bill will likely will be moved back to Friday if heavy rains come as forecast. The two teams would also play Highland Sunday at a site to be determined. Highland’s field is currently unplayable. Five of KCKCC’s seven runs Monday were scored with two out and no one on base, a fact not lost on Coach Matt Goldbeck. “That’s pretty special; the ability to get two-out hits really sustains the offense,” said Goldbeck. The Blue Devils trailed Metropolitan 4-3 with two out and none on in the bottom of the eighth only to score four times on four hits. After singles by Griffin Elliott and pinch-hitter Kevin Santiago and a walk loaded the bases, Traice Harter put the Blue Devils ahead 5-4 with a two-run double and Eric Hinostroza added two more runs with a two-run single. “A very big hit by Harter,” said Goldbeck. The rally made a pitching winner out of freshman Gaby Ramos, who gave up a leadoff home run to Cole Nichols to start the eighth inning but then retired the Wolves in order the final two innings. Ramos’ finish capped another outstanding performance by KCKCC freshmen relief pitchers, who combined to allow just one hit and one run in five innings, walking three and striking out four. Jake Martin pitched two hitless innings, striking out two and walking two, and Phillip Bryant walked one, struck out one in a hitless seventh inning. Matt Fred worked the first four innings, allowing three runs on six hits. He struck out six and walked two. “Our relief guys really did a good job, especially considering the circumstances,” said Goldbeck, “Both Martin and Bryant were making their first appearances after being injured and it was the first game of the season for Ramos.” Held without a hit through three innings, the Blue Devils finally broke through with two runs with one out in the fourth. Brady Hoover drove in both with a double after a double by Tyler Henry and a single by Kemper Bednar put runners on second and third. KCKCC tied it 3-3 with an unearned run in the seventh. With two out, Harter singled, took second on an error and scored on Jose Sosa’s single. Harter finished the day with three hits. PHOTO IDENT (Holder fielding) Third baseman Brady Holder, whose two-run double opened KCKCC’s scoring in the fourth inning, charges a ground ball in the Blue Devils’ come-from-behind 7-4 win over State Fair Monday. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)
KCKCC Baseball to build around 3 returning starting pitchersFebruary 18, 2019It’s an old baseball axiom you can never have too much pitching but Kansas City Kansas Community College’s baseball team will go into Jayhawk Conference play with its most experienced staff in recent years. Three sophomores who combined to start 34 games last year head a deep and promising mound staff to go along with an experienced infield. “The strength of this team should be our pitching staff,” says fourth year head coach Matt Goldbeck. “We have a lot of quality arms and ‘plus stuff’ as a staff. If we can throw strikes, I think we’ll be able to pitch and play defense.” Kept inside by this year’s snow, ice and cold, the Blue Devils finally get outside this weekend with a five-game spring trip to the Dallas area where they’ll face Eastfield in doubleheaders Friday and Saturday and Brookhaven in a single game Sunday. The home opener will come Saturday, Feb. 23, when the Blue Devils host State Fair in a twin bill. Goldbeck will build his pitching staff around three sophomore righthanders from Florida – Orlando Ortiz and Victor Gotay, both of Miami Beach; and Carlos Soto of Kissimmee. All were in the starting rotation a year ago when the Blue Devils finished 34-26. Gotay was 3-3 with a 3.94 earned run average in 10 starts; Soto 4-7 with a 5.05 ERA in 11 starts; and Ortiz 3-6 and a 6.06 ERA in 13 starts. Ortiz struck out 91 in 69 innings but also surrendered 65 walks. Soto had 52 strikeouts in 66 innings and Gotay 42 strikeouts in 45 innings. Each gave up 30 walks. Osvaldo Mendez, a freshman lefthander from Carolina, Puerto Rico, is expected to fill the fourth spot in the starting rotation with Matt Fred, a freshman righthander from Saint Mary, KS., slated to start in this weekend’s fifth game in Texas. Sophomore lefthander Hunter Paxton of Mill Valley, who was 3-1 in five starts last season, will also see starting duty along with soph Maxwell Storch of Olathe South and freshmen Jose Amaro and Zavier Morin of Gardner-Atchison. The relief corps will be built around a corps of three freshmen – righthanders Phillip Bryant of Little Rock, Ark., and Gabriel Ramos of Deltona, Fla., and southpaw Jake Martin of Aurora, Colo. Kevin Santiago returns to lead the offense. A sophomore from Puerto Rico, Santiago led the Blue Devils with 11 home runs, 63 runs-batted-in and a .713 slugging percentage while hitting .386 in a banner freshman season. “We’re counting on him for a big year,” says Goldbeck. Santiago will be joined on the infield by Eric Hinostroza of Shawnee at first, Trace Harter of Topeka Seaman at second and Kemper Bednar of Saint James at third. All are sophomores but only Bednar saw action last year, hitting .250 in 20 games. Harter is a transfer from Johnson County while Hinostroza is a former Blue Devil returning from military duty. Three freshmen have won the starting outfield spots – Tyler Henry of Gardner-Edgerton in left, Eduardo Acosta of Puerto Rico in center and Matt Schrick of Atchison in right. Sophomore Brady Holder of Kearney and freshmen Jose Soto of Kissimmee, Trey Hoover of Maryville, Mo., and Kaleb Harrison of Neola, Iowa, will vie for the role of designated hitter as well as infield and outfield duties. Catching will be another strength. Sophomore J.T. Goodfellow of Broken Arrow, Okla, who caught 30 games last season, will be joined by freshman Griffin Everett of Lincoln, Neb. “Offensively, this is going to be a team that will try to put pressure on the defense by stealing bases, bunting for hits and using the hit-and-run, all the little things,” says Goldbeck. “Santiago, Henry and Schrick will provide some power.” Goldbeck is being assisted by veterans Bill Sharp, Dean Long and Ryne McDonald and newcomers Andrew Kreiling and Pedro Leon. All but Leon are former Blue Devils. The Blue Devils have been tabbed for fifth place in the Jayhawk Conference behind Cowley, which is ranked No. 6 in the NJCAA preseason poll; Neosho County, Johnson County and Fort Scott. The Blue Devils will play a 32-game Jayhawk schedule, four-game series with each other league member rotating on a home-and-home basis on Thursdays and Saturdays.