SABETHA — Landon Erway’s first game-winning hit was memorable.
Larned’s Erway turned on an inside pitch and Evan Skelton scored the game-winner in a 2-1 victory in eight innings over Sabetha Wednesday in the Class AA American Legion State Baseball Tournament.
“One out, 3-1 pitch, I was looking to pull an inside pitch and find a gap,” he said. “I was hoping Evan would get on his horse and score. That was nerve wracking waiting to see him score.”
Larned (14-14) will play Concordia (27-5) at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Skelton singled off the glove of pitcher Gavin Schumann and moved to second base on Isiah Perez’s sacrifice bunt.
“That was a pretty special moment seeing Landon’s walk-off hit,” said coach Chad Erway, Landon’s father.
Larned pitcher Isiah Perez was brilliant with 14 strikeouts in eight innings behind an effective slider.
“Isiah was unreal. That’s the best start I’ve ever seen,” said Larned coach Erway. “He was throwing a pretty nasty slider today.”
Coach Erway said Perez made sure he threw enough warmup pitches so that he was prepared in the first inning.
“They were good fastball hitters, but Isiah threw his slider and change and that made a difference,” coach Erway said.
Sabetha had three chances to steal bases, but the arm of catcher Tyler Stelter kept Sabetha’s baserunners in place. Shortstop Erway made the game’s best play with a diving stop and throw on Blake Popkiss’ fifth-inning grounder. Erway started a third-inning double-play.
“Tyler is one of the best defensive catchers I’ve seen,” coach Erway said. “Our older players really stepped up today.”
Trey Kraisinger will get the start Thursday. Erway said he features a solid curveball and changeup to compliment his fastball.
The Indians scored a first-inning run when Perez singled and moved to second on a forceout by Erway. Camryn’s Bryant’s single drove home Perez.
Sabetha scored off Perez when Kegan Schumann’s base hit scored Taylor Bauman in the sixth inning. Stelter prevented a big inning when he tagged Kyler Krebs out at home on Taylor Ulrich’s bunt that bounced in front of the plate.
Gavin Schumann matched Perez pitch-for-pitch through seven innings. Erway reached third base in the sixth inning after a walk, stolen base and a balk. But Schumann retired Bryant on a groundout.
AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL
Class AA Zone Tournament
Larned 2, Sabetha 1
Sabetha 000 001 00 — 1 3 2
Larned 100 000 01 — 2 8 1
Gavin Schumann and Tyler Ulrich. Isiah Perez and Tyler Stelter. W—Perez. L—Schumann. 2B—S, Ulrich.
Concordia 3, Silver Lake 1
Larned 2, Sabetha 1
Ottawa vs. Ellis (n)
Doniphan Co. vs. Fort Scott (n)