By JIM MISUNAS
MANHATTAN — The Larned Indians lost their chance to play for the school’s first Class 3A state baseball championship on the bases in a 4-2 semifinal loss to runner-up Whitewater-Remington Saturday.
Seneca-Nemaha Central beat Remington 5-4 to capture the 3A state championship.
The Indians were lost on the basepaths with two runners getting picked off and two other runners erased on inning-ending and game-ending double plays.
Landon Erway was picked off base with two out in the first inning. Jon Herter was doubled off base in the sixth. Pinch runner Tanner Galliart was picked off base and Isiah Perez grounded into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded.
“Our Achilles Heel was baserunning,” said Larned coach Chad Erway. “It was a group effort. We didn’t run the bases very well and unfortunately that was a big part of us not coming out on top.”
Larned (18-4) had a similar hard-luck loss against Concordia in the Class 4A-Division 2 state semifinals last year.
Jon Herter’s topped grounder scored Mason Schartz in the third inning and the Indians loaded the bases. Pitcher Dylan Hamilton struck out Gage Skelton and Alex Barger to work out of trouble.
The seventh inning appeared promising. But Galliart was picked off after Jordan Taylor walked. Carson Smith and Schartz singled and Evan Skelton walked to load the bases. Reliever Blake Thunberg yielded an RBI single to Erway. But Perez grounded into a double play to end the game.
“He threw a great game. He had a plus slider and kept us off balance,” Erway said. “When you face a tough pitcher, you don’t want to get picked off.”
Four Remington runs scored after Broncos reached base without a base hit. Starter Evan Skelton worked out of trouble several times to keep the Indians within striking distance. He left the bases loaded in the second and fourth innings.
Paul Claassen walked and scored on Dylan Hamilton’s first-inning single. Kyle Thiessen walked and scored on Claassen’s single in the second inning.
Claassen reached on an error and scored on a passed ball in the sixth. Ryan Hamilton walked and scored a sacrifice fly by Dylan Hamilton as the Broncos scored twice without a hit.
“I’m so proud of these seniors,” Erway said. “We’ve got quality kids. What a great group of young men on and off the field. Those guys did everything I’ve asked of them. They compete on the field. I’m grateful and blessed to coach these guys.”
• LARNED 12, CHENEY 5 — Jon Herter doubled, tripled, scored three runs and drove in two runs against the Cardinals, who yielded seven unearned runs. Eight of nine batters either scored or drove in a run.
Perez (7-0) yielded two earned runs and struck out five batters.
Herter tripled home Perez and scored on a second-inning steal.
Herter, Carson Smith and Evan Skelton delivered RBIs in a five-run fourth inning.
Cheney gift wrapped three Larned runs with two errors and a walk in the fifth. Perez’s two-run single scored Evan Skelton and Erway in the sixth inning.
REMINGTON 4, LARNED 2
Larned 000 000 1 — 2 7 1
Remington 110 002 x — 4 7 1
Evan Skelton, Erway (6) and Smith. Dylan Hamilton, Thunber (7) and W—D. Hamilton. L—E. Skelton. 3B—R, Crisp.
LARNED 12, CHENEY 5
Cheney 000 122 0 — 5 6 4
Larned 020 532 x — 12 8 2
Kaleb Howell, Grover (5) and Winters. Perez and Smith. W—Perez, 7-0. L—K. Howell. 2B—L, Herter; C, K. Howell. 3B—L, Herter.
Manhattan, Tointon Family Stadium
Nemaha Central 7, Royal Valley 1
Wellsville 13, Council Grove 9
Remington 3, Galena 2
Larned 12, Cheney 5
Nemaha Central 2, Wellsville 1
Remington 4, Larned 2
Nemaha Central 5, Remington 4