By ALAN HOSKINS
KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- The streaking Blue Devils of Kansas City Kansas Community College have done it again. For the second time in two weeks, KCKCC has swept a four-game set with a team that entered the series holding down first place in the Jayhawk Conference.
Following up on 2-0 and 4-3 wins at home Friday, the Blue Devils went to Coffeyville Saturday and stretched their winning streak to 10 in a row with 6-1 and 6-4 wins that pulled them to even in the Jayhawk at 10-10 and 17-15 overall while dropping the Red Ravens from first (15-1) into a tie for third at 15-5.
The sweep came on the heels of a four-game sweep of previously unbeaten Cowley, which regained a tie for first in the conference Saturday with a doubleheader win over Johnson County. Both are 14-4.
KCKCC’s wins set up another big week for the Blue Devils, who host Maple Woods Tuesday and Brown Mackie Wednesday, both at 2 p.m., before entering a pivotal four-game series with Independence – at Indy Thursday and home Saturday at 1 and 3:30 p.m. At 12-8, Indy is fifth in the Jayhawk two games ahead of KCKCC.
Tied 1-1 after seven innings of the opener at Coffeyville, the Blue Devils lashed out four straight hits in scoring five times in the top of the eighth for the 6-1 win. After walks to Lucas Norton and Garrett McKinzie, Christian Arnold squeezed the go ahead run home with a bunt single. Daniel LaMunyon singled to load the bases before Eric Hinostroza singled in a run and Tyler Raymond delivered two more runs with a double.
Tanner Foerschler’s sacrifice fly got the final run home. KCKCC’s only run up until the
eighth came in the first when Sam Baxter singled, went to third on a pair of walks and scored on a balk.
Sophomore E.J. Merlo turned in his best pitching performance of the season for the win, allowing just four hits and no earned runs in going the 8-inning route.
He struck out two and walked one. The only Coffeyville run came in the third on a two-base error, sacrifice and ground ball. Only one runner reached as far as second the final five innings as Merlo retired 14 of the final 17 hitters faced.
The Blue Devils scored all their runs after two were out in the 6-4 nightcap win. The big outburst came in the third, a 4-run uprising that erased a 2-0 Coffeyville lead.
Sam Baxter drove in the first run with a double after Lucas was hit with a pitch with two out. Baxter then scored the tying run on a wild pitch before Daniel LaMunyon put the Blue Devils in front 4-2 with a 2-run double.
What proved to be the winning runs came in the fifth. McKinzie and Arnold were both hit by pitches with one out and with two out, McKInzie scored on a two-base error and Hinostroza singled in the second run for a 6-2 lead.
Southpaw Cole Frakes got the win with stellar relief help from Jonathan Mays and Derek Watkins. Coffeyville took its 2-0 lead in the second on a single, double and two-out error.
Frakes left in the fifth after giving up back-to-back walks with one out. Mays came on in relief and after giving up a two-run double, retired five of the final six hitters he faced and Watkins finished up, setting down the Ravens in order after giving up a leadoff single.