By Jim Misunas
LARNED — Larned’s American Legion baseball team stunned the top-seeded Hays Monarchs 5-4 Sunday to advance to Monday’s winner’s bracket finals of the Class AA Zone 2 Tournament at Moffet Stadium. Larned beat hays and Pratt, two teams which qualified for the Class AA State Tournament last year.
Larned wll play Russell (15-7) at 8 p.m. Monday in a rematch of the high school baseball regional championship. The winner advances to Tuesday’s championship game. Russell defeated Larned 5-2 in Class 4A baseball regional championship May 19. Evan Skelton is scheduled to start at pitcher.
Larned’s Isaiah Perez pitched a complete game and stranded the tying runner on base in the final two innings after leadoff doubles by Hays.
“Isaiah got the job done with groundballs and flyballs and our defense bailed him out,” said Larned Legion coach Chad Erway. “We’ve played a tough schedule and that has helped us.”
Perez retired Ryan Schippers on a hustling running catch by left fielder Alex Barger and Jordan Gottschalk on a groundout after Ryan Ruder’s seventh-inning double. First baseman Johnathan Herter alertly tagged out Kameron Schmidt in the sixth inning after the baserunner turned toward second base. Perez retired Hockett and Liam Stultz to strand the tying runner at third base.
“Herter made a big play. I’d seen the baserunner round toward second base and told our first baseman to tag him,” Erway said. “The umpire agreed.”
Hays led 2-0 on Schippers’ first-inning RBI double and an RBI groundout by Gottschalk that scored Schippers.
Larned scored four first-inning runs off losing pitcher Richard Hockett. Tyler Stelter doubled home Perez and Camryn Bryant singled home Landon Erway. Stetler scored on Gage Skelton’s squeeze bunt single. Mason Schartz’s single scored Bryant for a 4-2 lead.
Braiden Werth and Hockett scored in the fourth inning for a 4-4 tie as Hays benefited from two walks and two Larned errors.
Larned’s Evan Skelton doubled and scored the game-winning run on a passed ball in the fourth inning. Larned scored two unearned runs.
Larned defeated Pratt 15-0 in Sunday’s opening game. Brayden Smith and Erway combined for a no-hit shutout with five strikeouts. Schartz doubled twice and drove in two runs. Bryant and Smith each drove in two runs. Also driving in runs were Evan Skelton, Perez, Erway, Stelter and Jonathan Herter.
Larned played without starters Brayden Smith and Trey Kraisinger, who are unavailable due to other commitments.
Russell outlasted Hoisington 3-2 on Chase Prester’s game-winning single in the bottom of the seventh inning to advance to the winner’s bracket finals. Taylor Corley doubled and scored on Prester’s single off pitcher Colton Zink. Russell’s Brandon Bachar had an RBI double and Prester scored on Logan Braun’s groundout. Hoisington’s Trent Schremmer and Hunter Hanzlick scored unearned runs off Russell pitcher Taylor Rome.
Hoisington shut out Pratt 21-0 to advance to Monday’s loser’s bracket finals against the Hays Monarchs. Hunter Hanzlick had four hits and four runs batted in. Zink, Jacob Warnken and Kody Lang each had two runs batted in. Starter Terry Crawford and reliever Hanzlick each had five strikeouts in a four-inning no-hitter.
The winner of the Larned Zone Tournament qualifies for the Class AA State Tournament at Wathena July 30-Aug. 3.
CLASS AA ZONE 2
Larned 15, Pratt Skyline 0
Russell 3, Hoisington 2
Larned 5, Hays Monarchs 4
Hoisington 21, Pratt Skyline 0
5:30 p.m.—Hays Monarchs vs. Hoisington
8 p.m.—Larned vs. Russell
Larned 15, Pratt 0
Pratt 000 0 — 0 0 4
Larned 348 x — 15 11 1
Kasey Gilpin, Luke Fisher (3) and Cody Shipley. Brayden Smith, Landon Erway (4) and Tyler Stelter. 2B—L, Mason Shartz, 2, Isaiah Perez, Gage Skelton, John Herter. 3B—L, Brayden Smith.
Larned 5, Hays 4
Hays Monarchs 200 200 0 — 4 5 1
Larned Indians 400 100 x — 5 9 3
Richard Hockett, Braiden Werth (5) and Jordan Gottschalk. Isaiah Perez and Stelter. 2B—H, Ryan Shippers, Werth, Ryan Ruder; L, Stelter, Evan Skelton.
Russell 3, Hoisington 2
Hoisington 101 000 0 — 2 5 0
Russell 100 010 1 — 3 6 3
Colton Zink and Jacob Warnken. Taylor Rome and Dylan Braun. 2B—H. Warnken; R, Taylor Corley, Brandon Bachar.
Hoisington 21, Pratt 0
Hoisington 794 10 — 21 15 1
Pratt 000 0x — 0 0 3
Terry Crawford, Hunter Hanzlick (3) and Colton Zink, Warnken (3). Caleb Richert, Blake Lee (2), Trent Adams (4) and Shipley. 2B—H, Trent Schremmer, Crawford, Zink.