Zac Butler’s 3-hit pitching Friday carried Kansas City Kansas Community College to a 2-1 win over Seward County and into the second round of the Region VI super regional playoffs at Lawrence Dumont Stadium in Wichita.
Seward came into the opener seeded No. 1 in the West; the Blue Devils No. 4 out of the East. The win advances the Blue Devils (34-21) into a second round game against Neosho County (31-24) Saturday at 4 p.m. Neosho defeated Fort Scott 4-2 in Friday’s first game.
Butler, who compiled a 10-1 record and 1.90 earned run average during the regular season, was perfect through five innings. Retiring the first 16 Seward hitters, he retired the side in order in seven of the nine innings.
The Blue Devils took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning when Dean Long led off with a triple to centerfield and scored on Poncho Amaya’s one-out single.
Seward broke through in the sixth. After Reed Thompson was hit by a pitch, Bret Lewis broke up Butler’s no-hit bid with a single and Jacob Fuller tied the game with an RBI hit. Another hit batsman loaded the bases but Butler got Devan Nelson, the No. 3 hitter in the Seward batting order, to ground to second to start an into an inning-ending double play.
The Blue Devils then went ahead to stay in the seventh. Caleb Waddell reached second on a two-base throwing error, took third on Trent Sullivan’s single to right and scored on Lucas Norton’s squeeze bunt.
Once back in front, Butler retired the side in order in the seventh and eighth before his only other scare in the ninth. Fuller led off with a single but was forced at second on a throw by Butler on an attempted bunt. Another hit batsman put runners on first and second but Butler got Nelson on a ground ball to second and then struck out Mason Manning with the tying run on third to end it.