Kansas City Kansas Community College will open Region VI playoff action at home Saturday against Butler County.
The Blue Devils, 21-15 in the Jayhawk and 31-20 overall, wrapped up a fourth place finish and the home playoff berth over the weekend by dividing a four-game series at Highland (18-18). As the No. 4 seed out of the East, the Blue Devils face the West’s No. 5 seed, a Butler team that finished 18-14 in Jayhawk play and 23-19 overall.
Saturday’s first game will start at noon with the second game of the best-of-three series to start 30 minutes after the opener. If necessary, a third game will be played Sunday at 1 p.m.
Needing just one win to wrap up a home playoff berth at Highland, the Blue Devils wasted no time in getting it as they rapped out 15 hits in a 10-1 win Saturday. Andrew Kreiling and Landon Teal each had three singles; Dean Long and Poncho Amaya both homered;
Trent Sullivan singled twice and Caleb Waddell doubled,
Zac Butler ran his record to 9-1 and lowered his ERA to 1.75 by allowing just three hits, striking out four and walking none in six innings.
Highland, however, bounced back in the nightcap, rallying from a 4-2 deficit to win 7-4 on a three-run sixth inning. The Blue Devils were limited to just four hits including solo home runs by Kreiling and Garrett McKinzie and a two-run single by Jesse Grace. The Scotties bunched four of their 13 hits for the three tie-breaking runs in the sixth.
A 5-run third inning and Derrick Winter’s six-hit pitching carried KCKCC to a 6-1 win in Sunday’s opener. Lucas Norton ignited the five-run rally in the third with a home run and the Blue Devils added five more hits in the innings, singles by Jacob Woods, Long, Sullivan and Teal and a double by McKinzie. The win was the fifth for Winter against two losses.
Highland again rallied for two runs in the sixth for a 7-5 win in Sunday’s finale after the Blue Devils had staged a two-out two-run rally in the top of the inning to tie it. Nick Gulotta’s pinch single started the uprising and after two outs, Kreiling, Woods and Long delivered singles to tie it. Long drove in two runs with two singles and a double; Kreiling singled twice and Amaya drove in two runs with a single and sacrifice fly.