LARNED – Central Kansas League leader Larned was happy to take advantage of Nickerson’s faulty fielding. The Indians earned a baseball split with a 9-5 comeback victory Friday.
Nickerson won the opener 10-4, in an identical fashion when the Indians’ defense misfired. The twin bill split kept Larned (9-1, 9-1 CKL) ahead of Nickerson (8-2, 8-2 CKL) for first place in the CKL.
Larned contributed seven errors as Nickerson scored seven runs in the final two innings. Reliever Tanner Schrag shut out the Indians in the final five innings. The Panthers played solid defense by making good plays.
Two errors led to four unearned runs in the sixth off losing pitcher Evan Skelton. Tanner Schrag’s triple tied it 4-4. Schrag scored on an error. Kaleb McLean singled home two runs and Austin Engelland’s RBI hit made it 8-4. Kolbi Schrag’s sacrifice fly scored Tanner Schrag after Schrag’s groundball scored Eaton.
“It was a tough loss,” coach Erway said. “They played good, clean baseball and unfortunately we did not. They took advantage of that. Evan Skelton threw strikes and did his job.”
Larned led 2-0 when Jon Herter’s triple drove home Evan Skelton and Erway. Alex Barger and Jordan Taylor scored second-inning runs. Barger scampered home after an infield pop out by Carson Smith. Erway’s single scored Taylor for a 4-0 lead off starter Braden Stewart.
Ace pitcher Isiah Perez struck out 10 batters as the Indians rallied from a 4-0 deficit. The Indians rallied with six unearned runs in their final two at-bats when the Panthers’ defense collapsed. Gage Skelton delivered the go-ahead two-run double.
“Isiah is a competitor – he’s our No. 1 pitcher,” said Larned coach Chad Erway. “He took that first-game loss pretty hard.”
The Panthers scored four second-inning runs. Cameron Crandall’s single drove home Caleb McLean. Tanner Schrag’s double scored Crandall and Chandler Eaton scored on a passed ball. Schrag scored on Braden Stewart’s single for a 4-0 lead.
Mason Schartz’s double scored Carson Smith in the third inning for a 4-1 score. Panther second baseman McLean checked the Indians with back-to-back double plays in the second and third innings.
Gage Skelton’s RBI single drove home Landon Erway after back-to-back singles by Erway and Perez in the fourth inning. Perez scored on Alex Barger’s groundout for a 4-3 score.
Josh Salazar scored on Kolbi Schrag’s fifth-inning groundout for a 5-3 lead.
The Panthers gift wrapped Larned’s go-ahead four-run fifth when two errors, two walks and a hit batter. Carson Smith scored on an error. Herter’s hit by pitch forced home Evan Skelton for a 5-5 tie. Gage Skelton’s double drove home Erway and Perez.
Smith and Schartz scored sixth-inning insurance runs on passed balls for a 9-5 lead.
NHS 10, LARNED 4
Nickerson 001 025 2 – 10 12 0
Larned 220 000 0 – 4 5 7
Stewart, Tanner Schrag (2) and Eaton. E. Skelton and G. Skelton. W—T. Schrag. L—E. Skelton. 2B—L, Perez; B, Salazar. 3B—L, Herter; N, T. Schrag.
LARNED 9, NHS 5
Nickerson 040 010 0 – 5 6 3
Larned 001 242 x – 9 9 1
Engelland, Cornelius (4), Tanner Schrag (5) and Eaton. Perez and G. Skelton. L—Cornelius. 2B—L, Schartz, G. Skelton; N, T. Schrag, McLean.