NICKERSON — Larned High School’s baseball team swept Nickerson 14-3 and 4-2 on Tuesday evening to maintain momentum heading to a Thursday doubleheader at Great Bend.
The Indians (14-4), who have won six consecutive games, will be seeded second in next week’s Class 4A Hugoton regional tournament behind top-seeded Hugoton. Their last state tournament appearance came in 2009 when they lost to eventual state champion Silver Lake.
Second-game winner Trey Kraisinger struck out five batters and threw a complete game after he finished the opener. Kraisinger needed to be sharp because Nickerson threw its best pitchers Ryan O’Toole and Jake Stiverson in the nightcap.
“Trey did a great job tonight,” Larned coach Chad Erway said. “He threw his fastball to work ahead and his slider was his out pitch.”
Erway started his second-best pitcher Isiah Perez in the opener and saved his best pitcher Easton Palmer to face Great Bend.
“It was a balancing act because we wanted to win two games, but also save our pitching in case we play Thursday,” Chad Erway said. “We came out sharp mentally and got the job done that first game. Our guys are playing with a high baseball IQ.
“Camryn is one of those hitters who keeps on driving the ball. He delivered the big hits with guys on base.”
Larned 4, Nickerson 2
Larned scored four early runs to stake Kraisinger to a 4-1 lead in Game 2.
Brady Keith singled home Landon Erway and Perez in the first inning after a single and two walks. Landon Erway doubled and scored on a throwing error by Stiverson in the third inning.
Camryn Bryant capped a six-RBI doubleheader by driving home Keith after a walk, a balk and stolen base for a 4-1 lead.
O’Toole’s groundball scored Gomes in the first inning after he reached on an error for Nickerson. Gomes tripled in the third inning and scored on Tyler Owen’s groundout.
Nickerson’s only other threat ended when shortstop Palmer snared a line drive by Gomes and doubled up Casey Goble in the sixth inning.
“As long as we’re getting good pitching and defense, I like our chances to play good baseball,” Chad Erway said. “If we play Great Bend, it will be a good competitive test for us.”
Larned 14, Nickerson 3
Bryant ignited a pair of big innings with a two-run single and two-run double to key an eight-hit Larned attack.
Larned scored four runs in the first inning, three in the second and five times in the third for a 12-3 lead after three innings.
Larned took advantage of ineffective Nickerson pitching and five errors. Nine Indians scored after reaching base without a hit. The Indians had nine batters walk, three reach on errors along with a hit batter.
Bryant singled home Perez and Palmer in the first after Landon Erway scored on an error. Brayden Smith’s sacrifice bunt scored Keith.
Bryant singled home Erway and Palmer in the second inning. Smith’s bases-loaded walk scored Keith for a 7-0 lead.
O’Toole’s two-run single scored Jacob Mader and Connor Gomes after Ben Smalling scored on an error for a 7-3 score.
Palmer, Keith, Bryant and Tyler Stelter delivered RBIs in a five-run third inning for a 12-3 lead. Back-to-back groundouts by Stelter and Smith scored Keith and Bryant with Larned’s final two runs.