By JIM MISUNAS
COLBY — Iola rocked Larned’s best pitcher for seven runs and 12 hits to eliminate Larned 7-5 in the Class AA American Legion State Baseball Tournament. Larned (18-13) finishes fourth at Class AA state for the second consecutive year.
Larned led 5-3 after two innings, but went scoreless the final five innings. Iola pitcher Trenton Latta shut down Larned, throwing 80 pitches on one day’s rest. He struck out 11 batters.
Iola led 3-0 after its first at-bat. Derrick Weir delivered a two-run double and Caleb D’Armond drove in a third run.
Larned rallied for a 3-3 tie as five batters reached base off starter Kason Siemens. Evan Skelton singled, Mason Schartz walked and Landon Erway was hit by a pitch. Tyler Stelter hit an RBI single. Isiah Perez drilled a two-run double. But reliever Latta retired three straight Larned batters.
Larned scored two more runs in the second inning. Evan Skelton was hit by a pitch and Schartz singled. Stelter drilled a two-run double for a 5-3 lead.
But Larned batters eventually struck out 12 times and never scored again.
Iola’s Latta and Weir scored in the third inning for 5-5 tie. Iola’s Weir singled and scored in the fifth inning. Weir tripled and D’Armond singled him home in the seventh inning.
Iola beat Beloit 10-3 to qualify for the Class AA championship game. The Hays Monarchs beat Iola 8-3 in the finals. Both Kansas teams qualify for the Class AA Central Plains Regional at Le Sueur and Henderson, Minn.
• 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.
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.
IOLA 7, LARNED 5
Iola 302 010 1 — 7 12 4
Larned 320 000 0 — 5 6 5
Siemens, Latta (1), D’Armond (7) and Weir. Perez and Stelter. W—Latta. L—Perez. 2B—Larned, Perez, Stelter; Iola, Weir, D’Armond. 3B—Iola, Weir.
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 10, Beloit 3; Iola 7, Larned 5 (Larned eliminated)
Iola 10, Beloit 5 (Beloit eliminated); Hays Monarchs 8, Iola 3 (Iola eliminated)
CENTRAL PLAINS AA REGIONAL
At Le Sueur-Henderson, Minn.
Pool A—Iola, Kan.; Foley, Minn,; McCook-Miner, S.D.
Pool B—Nebraska; Wahpeton, N.D.; Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
Pool C—Le Sueur-Henderson, Minn; Carrington, N.D.; River Falls, Wis.
POOL D—Hays Monarchs; Moose Lake, Minn.; Rancho Rams, Nev.