By JIM MISUNAS
TOPEKA — Larned led Concordia 4-1 when second baseman Landon Erway advised the home plate umpire a pitch missed outside on a called third strike.
Erway was immediately ejected and Larned let down defensively in the next half-inning. Larned committed two errors and barely missed making two plays in the field as the Indians played backup infielders.
Concordia scored seven unearned runs to steal a 7-4 victory over Larned in the Class 4A-Division 2 baseball semifinals Monday. Larned (19-4) ties for third, the school’s best state finish. Rock Creek beat Concordia 2-0 in the state finals.
“You’re not going to win making errors,” said Larned coach Chad Erway. "The bottom line is we left too many runners on base."
Larned’s Evan Skelton (5-1) pitched no-hit ball for five innings.
But Concordia’s Jaden Payeur singled and Colby Trost and Cole Larsen reached base on consecutive errors to slice the lead to 4-2. Braden Johnson singled to load the bases. When Drake Hake was hit by a pitch, the Panthers got within 4-3.
With two out, Tanner Gilbert doubled on a hit that centerfielder Mason Schartz nearly caught to clear the bases for a 6-4 lead. Trevor Tholstrup’s single scored Gilbert for a 7-4 lead after six innings.
“I talked to the umpire and he said that (Landon) said the ball was out,” said coach Erway. “He should not have said the ball was out. I’m not condoning that at all. The kids have to watch their emotions. The umpires have to watch their emotions. You’ve got to be seasoned as an umpire and not be chucking kids. It made the difference in the outcome of the game. That’s baseball.”
The Indians loaded the bases four times, but took advantage just one time. The Indians stranded 14 baserunners, loading the bases with no one out in the third inning. The Indians drew 10 walks and had 21 baserunners.
“We had the bases loaded several times and didn’t come up with timely hits,” Erway said.
Larned broke a 1-1 tie with a three-run fourth inning after loading the bases in three consecutive innings.
Landon Erway delivered a two-run single off starter Billy Bechard that scored Colton Gladow and Mason Schartz. Gladow walked and Schartz singled. Evan Skelton was hit by a pitch. Isiah Perez singled home Evan Skelton off reliever Braden Johnson for a 4-1 lead.
Concordia led 1-0, scoring on a first-inning throwing error by catcher Tyler Stelter. Drake Hake walked and moved to second base on a bunt by Ethan Bechard. Hake moved to third base on a groundout and scored when a throw by Stelter got past Evan Skelton.
The Panthers had six baserunners through two innings, but no hits.
Concordia pitcher Billy Bechard handed Larned a run with a bases-loaded walk to Tyler Stelter for a 1-1 tie in the third inning. Bechard worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out situation by retiring Isiah Perez, Johnathon Herter and Trey Kraisinger.
The Indians also loaded the bases in the second and third innings. Through three innings, Larned stranded six baserunners and saw two runners get thrown out on the bases.
CONCORDIA 7, LARNED 4
Larned 001 300 0 — 4 6 4
Concordia 100 006 x — 7 4 2
Evan Skelton and Stelter. Billy Bechard, Johnson (4), Ethan Bechard (6) and Payeuer. W—Ethan Bechard. L—Evan Skelton 5-1. 2B—C, Gilbert.
CLASS 4A-DIV 2
Topeka Hummer Sports Complex
St. George-Rock Creek 3, Colby 2
Baxter Springs 7, Iola 0
Concordia 5, Clearwater 2
Larned 2, KC Ward 1
Semifinal—Rock Creek 1, Baxter Springs 0
Semifinal—Concordia 7, Larned 4
Championship—Rock Creek 2, Concordia 0