Monday, April 22, 2013

Three homers help KCKCC's drive for second, home playoff game


It took until the final regularly scheduled game of the season for Kansas City Kansas Community College’s first home run at the Blue Devils’ new baseball complex Sunday but when the Blue Devils did go long ball, they came in bunches.

Seeking a doubleheader sweep of Labette, leftfielder Andrew Kreiling led off the second game with a towering opposite field home run to left for KCKCC’s first round-tripper and catcher Garrett McKinzie and first baseman Dean Long followed with home runs in a 9-run third inning – McKinzie a two-run shot and Long a three-run blast in a 13-4 rout.

It was a big day for the Raymore-Peculiar duo of Kreiling and McKinzie. Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning of the opener, Kreiling delivered a game-tying one-out triple and then scored the winning run when McKinize punched a two-out single up the middle for a dramatic come from behind 5-4 win.

Coming on the heels of a split on Saturday, KCKCC winning the opener 4-0 before losing the nightcap5-4 in 10 innings, Sunday’s sweep kept the Blue Devils in the thick of the race for a second place finish in the Jayhawk East heading into a makeup doubleheader at Johnson County today.

Fort Scott and Coffeyville go into the final weekend of conference play tied for second with 20-12 records with KCKCC fourth at 18-12 with six games to go – two at JCCC today and four at fifth place Highland (16-16) Saturday and Sunday.

Any combination of three KCKCC wins or Highland losses this week will assure KCKCC of hosting a best-of-three playoff series May 3-4.

The Blue Devils have added one non-conference game to its home schedule, a 9-inning contest with St. Mary’s JV Wednesday starting at 3 p.m.

Zac Butler started off KCKCC’s four-game series with Labette by blanking the Cardinals with a 4-0 complete game gem and running his record to 8-1.

Butler retired the first 13 hitters in order and finished with a 3-hiiter, walking one and striking out seven. KCKCC scored the only run it needed in the first on a walk, ground ball and Jacob Woods’ run-scoring single.

A single by McKinzie and a run-scoring double by Poncho Amaya, both with two out, added a run in the third and the Blue Devils tacked on two more in the fourth on a hit batsman and RBI singles by Landon Teal and Long.

Four errors proved costly as Labette scored three times in the top of the 10th inning of Saturday’s nightcap and then held on for a 5-4 win.

Jacob Woods worked the first nine innings, allowing seven hits and just one earned run but Labette bunched four hits with two errors in the 10th to take a 5-2 lead. KCKCC got two of those runs back in the bottom of the 10th on singles by Woods, McKinzie and Austin Unrein.

KCKCC needed a two-out rally in the seventh to force extra innings. Pinchhitter Nick Gulotta delivered the game-tying single after singles by Amaya and pinchhitter Caleb Waddell. KCKCC’s only other run came in the third on a squeeze bunt by Jesse Grace following a hit batsman and single by Teal.

The dramatics continued in Sunday’s opener as the Blue Devils rallied for three runs in the seventh. A pinch double by Gulotta and a single by Grace triggered the uprising. Teal’s bunt scored one run, Kreiling tied it with his triple and McKinzie deliverED the game-winner. Matt Dye (3-4) got the win in relief of Derrick Winter, who allowed six hits and two earned runs in 5.1 innings.

Grace, Teal and Trent Sullivan each had two hits for KCKCC with Sullivan driving in KCKCC’s first run with a two-out double in the sixth.

The home runs by Kreiling, McKinzie and Long came in the KCKCC’s 19th game of the season on the new field.

Kreiling and Long each finished with three hits, Woods had two and Lucas Norton drove in a pair of runs with a single and ground ball in the 13-4 rout. Unrein (2-1) got the win with Cisco Medina working the final two innings.  

PHOTO: It took 19 games before (from left) Dean Long, Garrett McKinzie and Andrew Kreiling belted the first home runs at Kansas City Kansas Community College’s new baseball complex Sunday. The homers came in a 13-4 doubleheader sweep of Labette. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)