Kansas City Kansas Community College got a great start to the 2020 Jayhawk Conference baseball season Thursday, sweeping a doubleheader from No. 3 ranked Cowley College.
Trailing 5-1, the Blue Devils came from behind for a 6-5 win in the 7-inning opener, then had to beat the setting sun in a 14-8 9-inning win in the nightcap. The sweep of the defending Jayhawk East champions improved KCKCC's record to 12-3 heading into a return doubleheader with the Tigers Saturday in Arkansas City.
Home runs by freshmen Caleb Adams and Seth Kenagy started the Blue Devils on their comeback in the 6-5 opener. Held to just three hits over the first four innings by southpaw Adam Stephenson, the Blue Devils exploded for three runs in the fifth and then took advantage of Cowley wildness to score the tying and winning runs in the sixth.
An outfielder from Lansing, Adams started the rally with a towering 400-foot home run to center and after a ringing double by Raymond Paniagua, Kenagy homered to almost the same spot in center to cut the deficit to 5-4. A wild pitch on a third strike and back-to-back walks loaded the bases with none out in the sixth. Freshman Palmer Hutchinson tied it with a single into left field and a passed ball scored what proved to be the winning run.
Sophomore lefthander Osvaldo Mendez went the distance for the win, stranding the tying run on third with two out in the seventh. Mendez scattered 11 hits while striking out five and walking two. The Tigers' big blow was a 3-run home run by Gus Freeman in the fourth inning that broke a 1-1 tie. Cowley took a 1-0 lead on an unearned run in the first but KCKCC quickly tied it on a double by Griffin Everitt and a single by Eduardo Acosta.
Kenagy and Adams also homered in the second game and Jose Sosa drove in runs in four consecutive innings to lead the Blue Devils in the 14-8 second game. The Blue Devils lashed out 16 hits including eight for extra bases. Sosa finished with two doubles and a single and five RBI. Paniagua also had three hits, a triple and two singles while Acosta tripled and singled, Everitt doubled and singled twice; and Trey Hoover doubled.
The Blue Devils had a chance to end the game early as they used a pair of 4-run innings to build a 12-1 lead after five innings only to have Cowley score in each of the final four innings as darkness threatened to push the final inning to Ark City Saturday. "We had guys asking if they needed to make outs on purpose so we could get the game in and not have to finish at Cowley," said KCKCC Coach Matt Goldbeck.
KCKCC took a 2-0 lead in the first on Sosa's 2-out, 2-run double and the Blue Devils scored four runs in both the third and fourth innings. After a single by Everitt, Acosta tripled for one run, Sosa and Hoover each doubled in a run and Paniagua singled in the fourth run in the third.
Kenagy led off the fourth with his second home run of the day; Everitt and Sosa both doubled and Hutchinson and Adams singled in the four-run uprising. Kenagy's second hit was the only hit in a 2-run fifth while Adams homered and Paniagua tripled in a 2-run eighth.
Gaby Ramos held Cowley to just four hits and one run over the first five innings before leaving after giving up two runs in the sixth. He allowed seven hits while striking out four and walking one. Parker Weddle gave up three hits and three runs (one earned) in 1 2/3 innings before Chase Terrell finished up, allowing three hits and two runs in the rush to finish before dark.