By JIM MISUNAS
HUTCHINSON – Larned’s American Legion baseball team worked extra innings for a hard-fought 4-3 victory over the Buhler Legion team Wednesday. The second game was tied 1-1 when it was halted by darkness by the umpires.
“The teams were evenly matched and we played pretty good baseball,” said Larned coach Chad Erway. “Those were two closely-fought games. Buhler has some pretty good athletes.”
Landon Erway delivered the game-winning sacrifice fly to bring home Mason Schartz, who reached on an error and moved to second base on a wild pitch and third on a sacrifice bunt by Gage Skelton.
Larned (12-9) plays at home Monday against Dodge City and returns to Dodge City Wednesday. Pratt plays at Larned May 17.
Buhler led 3-0 off Larned’s starting pitcher Evan Skelton. Hunter Ogburn doubled home Ryan Stoecklin in the second inning and Wyatt Akins drove in Ogburn for a 2-0 lead. Stoecklein’s triple drove home Dillon Engelland in the third inning. Evan Skelton struck out five batters.
Larned rallied with a three-run fifth inning. Pinch hitter Alex Barger singled and Camryn Bryant reached base on an error. Schartz doubled home Barger and Bryant. Skelton’s single drove home Schartz for a 3-3 tie.
Larned reliever Trey Kraisinger worked scoreless innings to earn the victory. Buhler loaded the bases in the 10th inning, but Kraisinger retired Akins on a fly ball to Barger to end the game.
“Alex Barger made a great catch on a curving fly ball to win the ballgame,” Erway said.
LARNED 1, BUHLER 1
Marques Tafolla drilled a tying base hit to score Ogburn for a tie in the seventh inning with two out. Larned pitcher Isiah Perez struck out Spencer Cox to end the inning. The game was called by the umpires because of dwindling light.
Schartz singled, moved into scoring position on an error and scored on Erway’s groundball off pitcher Jace Williams. Larned stranded runners in scoring position in the first and fourth innings. Williams struck out Gage Skelton with the bases loaded in the fourth.
Perez struck out seven batters and overcame a pair of doubles. He worked out of trouble in the sixth inning when he retired Stoecklein on a groundout with runners on second and third. Second baseman Erway led Larned’s defense by turning a double play.
“Isiah was pitching really well. He was right in the zone the whole game,” Erway said.
LARNED 4, BUHLER 3
Larned 000 030 000 1 — 4 9 2
Buhler 021 000 000 0 — 3 5 2
Evan Skelton, Kraisinger (8) and Stelter. Biehler, Rush (5) and Ogburn. W—Kraisinger. L—Rush. 2B—Larned, Mason Schartz, Buhler, Ogburn. 3B—Buhler, Stoecklein.
LARNED 1, BUHLER 1
Larned 000 010 0 — 1 3 0
Buhler 000 000 1 — 1 7 0
Perez and Stelter. Cox, Williams (4) and Stoecklein. 2B—Buhler, Ogburn, Cox.