Larned Legion pushes state champion
BY JIM MISUNAS
PITTSBURG — Larned's American Legion baseball team was one hit away from upsetting state American Legion champion Pittsburg in Saturday’s semifinals.
Pittsburg edged Larned 2-1 in a brilliant pitcher’s duel and captured its fifth state championship with an 8-6 victory over the Topeka Senators in the title game at the Kansas AA/AAA Legion state tournament.
“The Pittsburg and Topeka coaches told me that we had a well-coached team with good baseball players,” said Larned coach Chad Erway. “I was proud of our guys for competing the way they did. We played a great baseball game.”
Larned (12-10) captured Legion state baseball titles in 1990, 2000, 2016 and 2019.
PITTSBURG 2, LARNED 1 (G4) — Larned pitcher Jack Stelter (1-2) pitched brilliantly against the state champions with a nifty 95-pitch performance. Stelter mixed a fastball, curveball and circle changeup to keep Pittsburg off balance. Pittsburg also features players from Baxter Springs, Columbus, Girard, Oswego and Frontenac.
“Jack Stelter pitched a gem, everything we needed to compete,” said Erway. “He threw three effective pitches and kept them off balance by starting batters with curveballs and changeups.”
Pittsburg’s Riley Bush tripled and scored on Tucker Akens’ second-inning single. Brandon Kelley doubled home Ethan Light in the third inning.
Larned’s Eian Sanders doubled home sparkplug Ian Orth in the fourth inning. Larned’s Dillan Smith, Orth and Carlos Ibarra loaded the bases in the sixth inning. Pittsburg third baseman Kam Williamson gloved a hard-hit grounder by Gavin Alvarez for the inning-ending forceout.
“We hit some hard-hit balls at fielders, but that’s baseball,” Erway said.
Pittsburg 011 000 0 — 2 7 2
Larned 000 100 0 — 1 5 0
Sutterby, Elkins (7) and Bush. Stelter and Shaver. W—Sutterby. L—Stelter, 1-2. 2B—L—Orth, Sanders, Bryant. 3B—P—Bush.
AA-AAA STATE PITTSBURG
CHAMPIONSHIP—Pittsburg 8, Topeka Senators 6; SEMIFINALS—Topeka Senators 19, Marysville 2; Pittsburg 2, Larned 1
AA POOL—Marysville 3-0; Larned 2-1; Silver Lake 1-2; Republic County 0-3; 7-28—Larned 2, Silver Lake 0; Marysville 10, Republic County 3; 7-29—Marysville 4, Larned 3; Silver Lake 13, Republic County 1; 7-30—Marysville 7, Silver Lake 3; Larned 12, Republic County 2
AAA POOL—Pittsburg 2-1; Topeka Senators 2-1; Ottawa 1-2; Hays Eagles 1-2; 7-28—Topeka Senators 6, Ottawa 3; Pittsburg 12, Hays Eagles 0; 7-29—Senators 10, Hays 7; Ottawa 6, Pittsburg 5, 9 innings; 7-30—Hays 11, Ottawa 0; Pittsburg 14, Senators 8