Kansas City Kansas Community College is one win away from wrapping up a first round home playoff berth thanks to the pitching efforts of southpaw Eli Egger.
Stung 8-2 in the opening game of a doubleheader at Johnson County Monday, the sophomore from Waukee, Iowa, responded with a sparking 4-hit complete game 7-0 shutout that solidified the Blue Devils hold on fourth place in the Jayhawk at 19-13 and 27-18 overall.
The Blue Devils will now close out regular season Jayhawk play this weekend with doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday at Highland, KCKCC’s closest pursuer in the battle for the fourth and final home field playoff berth. With a three-game lead over the Scotties (16-16), the Blue Devils need just one win to clinch a home playoff berth but “We have a lot higher aspirations than that,” said head coach Steve Burleson.
KCKCC is just one game back of second place Fort Scott and Coffeyville, who are both 20-12 and are home this weekend to host Allen County and Neosho County, respectively.
A 6-run third inning capped by a 3-run home run by designated hitter Caleb Waddell gave Egger (3-2) all the cushion he needed in the nightcap. Garrett McKinzie broke the scoreless deadlock with a 2-run single following a pair of walks and a wild pitch; Trent Sullivan scored the third run on one of his two hits; and Waddell wrapped up the inning with 3-run blast, his first round tripper of the season. The Blue Devils added an insurance run in the seventh on Landon Teal’s squeeze bunt.
JCCC took command of the opener early, taking a 4-1 lead in the first and adding three runs in the fifth in the 8-2 win. The Blue Devils were limited to just five singles by two Cavalier hurlers including two by Waddell. Andrew Kreiling led off the first with a single and scored on a ground ball and the Blue Devils got their final run in the second on two walks, a Waddell single and Lucas Norton’s ground ball.