BY JIM MISUNAS
HOISINGTON — Reliever Avery Brewer rode to the rescue when Hoisington pitcher Derek Boxberger hit his maximum 105-pitch count.
Brewer preserved a 7-3 opening Central Kansas League baseball victory over Halstead by recording the final four outs. Brewer retired David Schulte on a fly ball to strand two sixth-inning baserunners.
The second game was equally impressive as the Cardinals scored six unearned runs off Halstead pitcher Dawson Driskill. Driskill (2-2) threw a no-hitter against Hesston and has yielded three earned runs in four games.
Hoisington (11-3, 9-3 CKL) kept one game behind Nickerson in the CKL standings while Halstead (3-9, 3-9 CKL) dropped both games.
HOISINGTON 7, HALSTEAD 3 (G1) — As usual, Derek Boxberger was effective with a mix of off-speed pitches. Boxberger (4-1) threw five shutout innings. Third baseman Brewer rescued Boxberger from fifth-inning trouble when he dove for a groundball by Jackson Swift to strand two baserunners.
The Cardinals scored six third-inning runs with effective small ball.
Derek Boxberger singled and Hunter Hanzlick followed with a nifty bunt. Halstead misplayed Quentin Boxberger’s sacrifice bunt that scored the first run. Jerred Bieberle followed with a bunt single. Another run scored when Braxton Donovan’s groundball was misplayed.
Myles Menges delivered the big hit with a two-run single that scored Bieberle and Donovan for a 5-0 lead. Brewer’s RBI single scored Menges for a 6-0 lead.
Hanzlick scored the Cardinals’ sixth run in the fifth inning.
Halstead touched Boxberger for six baserunners in his final two innings. Bryant Odendahl singled home Brian Casey and Dawson Driskill singled home Odendahl for a 7-2 score. Jackson Swift’s single scored Chandler Drake in the seventh inning for a 7-3 final.
HOISINGTON 11, HALSTEAD 1 (G2) — The Cardinals roughed up Driskill for six first-inning runs after the Dragons committed three errors. Jerred Bieberle singled and Braxton Donovan reached base on an error. Bieberle scored on a second error. Jacob Specht walked. Trey Byers singled home Donovan and Myles Menges for a 3-0 lead. Avery Brewer's groundout scored Specht. Derek Boxberger singled home Byers and Boxberger scored on a wild pitch for a 6-0 lead.
Menges scored on a second-inning passed ball after a single and double by Byers for a 7-0 lead. Menges (3-1) struck out four batters. Driskill singled home Cole Herman for Halstead's third-inning run.
The Cardinals secured a run-rule victory with a four-run fifth inning. Menges forced home a run with a hit-by-pitch. Specht doubled home Bieberle and Donovan. Byers singled home Menges for the 11-1 victory.
Halstead 000 002 1 — 3 10 2
Hoisington 006 100 x — 7 7 2
Drake, Considine (4) and Schulte. Derek Boxberger, Brewer (6) and Hanzlick, Specht (6). W—D. Boxberger, 4-1. L—. 2B—Hal—Casey.
Halstead 001 00 — 1 6 5
Hoisington 610 04 x — 11 8 0
Driskill, Murphy (2), Casey (5) and Schulte. Menges and Hanzlick. W—Menges, 3-1. L—Driskill, 2-2. 2B—Hois—Specht, Byers; Hal—Herman.