By JIM MISUNAS
COLBY — Larned’s American Legion baseball team continued on the comeback trail Friday at the Class AA State Tournament.
Larned cruised past Colby 8-2 in an elimination game Friday. Larned (18-12) was scheduled to play Iola Friday night in another elimination game. Larned will pitch either Isiah Perez or Evan Skelton.
• LARNED 8, COLBY 2 — Larned pieced together a pair of three-run innings and pitcher Brayden Smith worked seven solid innings. He worked out of three tough situations.
“Brayden did exactly what we wanted — he threw strikes and stayed with his fastball,” said Larned coach Chad Erway. “Offensively and defensively, we played well.”
Larned second baseman Landon Erway turned a third-inning double play and Mason Schartz threw out Colby’s Jesse Stewart at the plate in the sixth inning. Johnathon Herter led a eight-hit attack with a pair of hits and three runs batted in.
Isiah Perez’s inside-the-park home run to center field gave Larned a 1-0 second-inning lead. Herter walked and Smith was hit by a pitch. Colby first baseman Clayton Schwartz saved the Sluggers a run by throwing out Herter at home on a base hit to right field by Colton Gladow.
‘‘That was a huge play by Schartz,” Erway said. “They had momentum.”
Larned padded its lead with a three-run third inning. Landon Erway doubled home Schartz after a walk, stolen base and wild pitch. Herter singled home Erway and Perez for a 4-0 lead.
Smith worked out of a bases-loaded fourth-inning jam when he retired Stewart on a pop fly to shortstop Isiah Perez.
Larned added three insurance runs, benefiting from an error and three walks by pitcher Zack Hart. Tyler Stelter scored on Herter’s single. Perez scored on the back end of a double steal. Smith scored when catcher Austin Hart threw the baseball away on an attempted steal or a 7-1 lead.
Colby’s Brady Holzmeister delivered two hits, reached base four times and drove in a run. He scored a fifth-inning run when Smith threw the baseball away on a pickoff attempt. Holzmeister and Austin Hart singled and Smith’s throw went past first baseman Herter. Smith retired Brooks Curry and Casey Quagliano to escape further trouble.
Colby loaded the bases in the sixth inning, but wasted a golden opportunity when Jesse Stewart was thrown out at home in the sixth inning. Zack Hart scored on Holzmeister’s base hit. But Stewart was thrown out at home to end the inning with Colby down 7-2.
Tyler Steler’s single scored Evan Skelton with Larned’s eighth run in the sixth inning.
CLASS AA LEGION STATE
Hays Monarchs 6, Marysville 1; Doniphan County 6, Larned 0; Beloit 12, Wellington 1; Colby 1, Iola 0
Larned 6, Marysville 2 (Marysville eliminated); Iola 11, Wellington 7 (Wellington eliminated); Hays Monarchs 3, Doniphan County 2; Beloit 11, Colby 3
Iola 9, Doniphan County 1 (Doniphan County eliminated)
Larned 8, Colby 2 (Colby eliminated)
Hays Monarchs 25-7 vs. Beloit 23-3
Iola 28-6 vs. Larned 18-12
LARNED 8, COLBY 2
Colby 000 011 0 — 2 6 0
Larned 013 031 x — 8 8 3
Austin Hart, Zack Hart (3), Quagliano (6) and Quagliano, Austin Hart (3). Smith and Stelter. W—Smith. L—Austin Hart. 2B—Larned, Erway. HR—Larned, Perez.