By JIM MISUNAS
ELLIS — It was Landon Erway’s turn to shine. Erway threw a four-inning no-hitter to spark Larned’s American Legion baseball team past Ellis 12-0 in Wednesday’s Zone 4 championship game. Larned (16-11) qualifies for the Class AA state tournament starting July 29 at Colby’s Young Memorial Field.
Erway struck out four batters and no ball was hit out of the infield. Ellis’ Scott Pfeifer reached on a third-inning error, but shortstop Isiah Perez turned a groundball by Easton Smith into a double play.
Erway’s no-hit celebration was delayed for a moment for the team to realize the game was over after 31/2 innings.
‘It was pretty special,” Erway said. “I pitched pretty good and let my defense work for me.”
Erway featured an effective fastball that broke down and away, like a slider, from righthanded batters.
“I threw a lot of fastballs that were cutting across the plate,” he said. “It’s great to get back to the state tournament. That’s where we wanted to be.”
Larned placed fourth in last year’s Class AA state tournament with a 2-2 record.
“It’s rewarding to qualify for state again,” said Larned coach Chad Erway. “We’re peaking at the right time, playing our best baseball.”
At Class AA state, Larned will play Doniphan County (28-3), which won 3-2 over Seneca to win its Zone tournament. Larned’s first round game will be played at 3:30 p.m. July 29. The game will be aired online at mscsports.net on KNZA.
Mason Schartz delivered the biggest hit with a bases-loaded double in a 10-run first inning. Nine of 10 batters reached base against Ellis starter Brennan Charon, who walked seven batters, including five consecutive batters.
In the first inning, Tyler Stelter singled home a run after Schartz and Erway reached base. Colton Gladow, Gage Skelton and Evan Skelton forced home runs on walks. Schartz’s double cleared the bases. Schartz and Erway scored on steals. Stelter capped the 10-run inning with another base hit.
Schartz and Erway scored runs after a single and two Ellis errors in the third inning. Schartz raced home on Erway’s groundball. Gladow forced home Erway on a bases-loaded walk for a 12-0 lead.
“We wanted to come and pounce on them and that’s what we did,” said coach Erway. “We were taking pitches and being disciplined at the plate.
ELLIS 11, ULYSSES 10 — Ellis scored six runs in the sixth inning to rally past Ulysses 11-10 in the loser’s bracket final. Ulysses led 6-1 heading to bottom of the fifth inning. Ellis scored four runs in the fifth inning.
Beloit (21-3), Colby (21-5), Marysville (21-9) and the Hays Monarchs (23-7) have also qualified for Class AA state. Tournament officials have switched the Class AA state bracket to avoid a Colby-TMP first-round meeting.
LINCOLN ZONE — Finals, Beloit 10, Concordia 8; Semifinal, Beloit 2, Osborne 1; Beloit 9, Concordia 1; Concordia 1, Osborne 0; Concordia 12, Lincoln 8; Lincoln 11, Smith Center 4; Osborne 12, Lincoln 4; Concordia 5, Smith Center 4.
LARNED 12, ELLIS 0
Ellis 000 0 — 0 0 4
Larned (10)02 x — 12 5 1
Charon, LaBarge (1) and LaBarge, Bollig (1). Erway and Stelter. W—Erway. L—Charon. 2B—Larned, Schartz, Stelter.
ELLIS 11, ULYSSES 10
Hoisington 411 002 1 — 10 5 5
Ellis 100 046 x — 11 11 0
Maravilla and Gilbert. Kroeger and Bollig.