Monday, April 2, 2012

Late 3-run outbursts doom KCKCC to split with JCCC


Just when things were looking so good, the bottom fell out on the Kansas City Kansas Community College baseball Blue Devils Sunday.

Thanks to 5-4 and 6-4 wins over Johnson County at Community America Saturday, the Blue Devils had moved past the Cavaliers into second place in the Jayhawk and were poised to move even closer to first place with a 5-3 lead entering the top of the seventh Sunday.

However, the Cavaliers got a two-run home run to tie it and then added an unearned run for a 6-5 win and then got another three-run explosion in the top of the eighth inning of the nightcap for a 7-4 win.

The split dropped the Blue Devils into a tie for fourth place in the Jayhawk heading into a big showdown Friday and Saturday against first place Cowley at Community America. At 16-4, Cowley leads the Jayhawk East followed by Neosho County (15-5), JCCC (14-6) and KCKCC (13-7).

Freshman Zac Butler got the four-game series off on the right foot Saturday, scattering eight hits and allowing just two runs in the 5-4 win. Dave Richards delivered the big blow in a 3-run third inning, a two-run triple following a hit batsman and a single by Jacob Woods. Richards then scored on Poncho Amaya’s bunt.

The Blue Devils then built the lead to 5-2, scoring twice in the fifth on doubles by Woods and Richards, a single by Amaya and another bunt, this time by Brandon Witt.

JCCC took a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the nightcap but KCKCC quickly tied it on a two-run home run by Dean Long following a single by Richards. It stayed that way until the sixth when the Blue Devils scored four times and hung on for a 6-4 win.

After KCKCC loaded the bases on singles by Richards and Long and a hit batsman, the Blue Devils went ahead on a single by Shaun Williams, got another run on a wild pitch and scored what proved to be the decisive runs on Caleb Mitchell’s two-run double. Parker McDaniel got the win in relief of Jesse Foulk despite giving up two runs on three hits. Richards and Andrew Kreiling each finished with four hits for the day

The double loss Sunday came despite a dramatic two-out, game-tying home run in the bottom of the seventh of the nightcap by Dean Long. Trailing 4-3 and one pitch away from defeat, Long hammered a 2-2 pitch 350 feet into the leftfield bullpen. However, the Cavaliers, who trailed 3-0 early, loaded the bases against McDaniel with two out in the top of the eighth and won it on a bases-clearing double.  

The Cavaliers also scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning of the opener, tying the game on a 2-run homer off Mark Spreckels and then scoring the winning run on a dropped throw

The Blue Devils (18-13) return to action Wednesday at Rockhurst at 2 p.m. before the pivotal four-game set with Cowley here Friday and Saturday, both at 1 p.m.