By JIM MISUNAS
NICKERSON — Larned High’s hitting is so dominating, their defense and pitching is often overshadowed.
Central Kansas League baseball leader Larned rolled past Nickerson 15-4 and 15-2 Friday. The Indians (9-1) rapped out 25 hits and eight doubles in the twon bill.
Landon Erway drove in five runs with four hits. Tyler Stelter drove in seven runs with five hits. Johnathon Herter had five hits and five RBI.
“We’re doing phenomenal at the plate. I’m proud of the team for being so disciplined,” Landon Erway said. “We’ve got good hitters. We stay within ourselves for the most part and play good baseball. We carry a lot of confidence. We call it necessary arrogance.”
In the opener, the Indians scored 13 runs in their final three at-bats. Herter led the way with a pair of run-scoring hits. Stelter drove in three runs and scored three times. Erway and Gage Skelton each drove in a pair of runs.
“We’re playing pretty good baseball,” said Larned coach Chad Erway. “We came out the second game focused and played our game. The most pleasing part is we have a mature approach at the plate. When we get good counts, they’re getting good swings and hitting line drives.”
In the nightcap, Larned scored nine runs in the first inning. Stelter drove in four runs with three hits. Erway drove in three runs. Trey Kraisinger and Mason Schartz each drove in two runs.
Larned’s top pitchers Isiah Perez and Trey Kraisinger threw solidly.
“They pitched to contact and let the game come to us,” Erway said. “Nickerson had a good approach at the plate. I tip my cap to them.”
Catcher Tyler Stelter and first baseman Johnathon Herter each threw out two runners in the second game.
Nickerson (5-5) showed some fight offensively. The Panthers pushed across four runs against Larned’s top starter Perez. They delivered eight hits and two runs off No. 2 starter Kraisinger.
“That’s the best team we’ve played by far,” said Nickerson coach Sheldon Stewart. “They hit the ball well. They pitched well and played defense.”
In the opener, Josh Salazar singled home Braden Stewart, who scored on a wild pitch. Stewart’s two-run single scored Devlin Frazier and Ben Smalling.
In the nightcap, the Panthers rapped out eight hits. Jacob Mader singled home Smalling. Stewart singled home Nate Gardner. But the Panthers had four baserunners thrown out on the bases.
“For the most part, I was pleased at the plate,” Stewart said. “We left guys on base and we did not run the bases well.”
The Panthers trailed 11-0 in the opener and 9-0 in the second game.
“That first game, we went down a little bit and quit doing the things that we need to do,” Stewart said. “We’ve still got to play our game. They jumped on us the second game too.”
LARNED 15, NICKERSON 4
Larned 025 44 – 15 11 0
Nickerson 000 22 – 4 6 4
Perez and Stelter. Goble, Timmons (5) and Schrag. W—Perez, 2-1. L—Goble. 2B—L, Herter, Gage Skelton, Erway, Stelter; N, Mader.
LARNED 15, NICKERSON 2
Larned 920 40 – 15 14 2
Nickerson 100 10 – 2 8 2
Kraisinger and Stelter. McLean, Salazar (2) and Gardner. W—Kraisinger, 3-0. L—McLean. 2B—L, Perez, Herter, Gage Skelton, Erway.
Larned 9-1 9-1
Halstead 9-2 9-2
Lyons 4-1 4-3
Pratt 7-5 7-7
Kingman 7-5 8-6
Nickerson 5-5 5-5
Hoisington 4-6 4-6
Smoky Valley 3-5 3-7
Haven 1-9 1-11
Hillsboro 0-10 0-10
Halstead 8, Lyons 7
Larned 15-15, Nickerson 4-2
Kingman 13-9, Haven 3-3