BY JIM MISUNAS
COLBY – Two old rivals Larned and Hoisington upset the top seeds to qualify for the Class AA Zone baseball championship. Defending Class AA state champion Larned stunned Colby 2-1 and upset top-seeded Goodland 3-2 on Jon Herter’s game-ending single.
“It’s the best baseball we’ve played all summer,” said Larned coach Garret Fitzpatrick. “We put two great baseball games together and our pitchers threw two complete games. Getting two complete games was huge. We had a few timely base hits.”
Hoisington shocked Hays-Monarchs, considered the best baseball team in the regional. Larned (8-14) and Hoisington (7-3) will meet at 5 p.m. Thursday for a spot in the AA State Tournament at Marysville. The loser will play Hays-TMP for a second state berth at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
LARNED 2, COLBY 1 – Mason Burris scored the game-winning run on Shevin’s Martin infield single and a throwing error by third baseman Zach Hart. Burris singled on a bloop single that was nearly caught by the centerfielder to start the sixth inning. Burris moved to second base when Brandon Cenecerous was hit by a pitch.
Mason Perez scored on Jon Herter’s sacrifice fly for Larned’s fifth-inning run after back-to-back singles by Perez and Carson Smith off hard-luck loser Parker Wright.
Larned pitcher Austin Gladow stranded five baserunners in scoring position. Catcher Burris threw out a runner in the second inning to help Gladow work out of trouble. Clay Schwartz’s bloop single scored Tommy Cline for Colby’s sixth-inning run.
LARNED 3, GOODLAND 2 – Herter’s single scored Mason Perez with the game-winning run after Perez walked, Brayden Rupp was hit by a pitch and Carson Smith singled to load the bases.
Herter was a magician on the mound, stranding 11 baserunners.
“That was Jon’s best game since the opener against TMP,” Fitzpatrick said. “He spotted his fastball and mixed it some breaking pitches to keep them off balance.”
Perez drew three walks and Perez and Herter were both on base four consecutive times. Perez scored a first-inning run on a wild pitch after a steal. Herter singled, stole two bases and scored on Mason Burris’ third-inning groundout.
HOISINGTON 3, TMP 1 – Catcher Jeremy Breit drilled a two-run homer and gunned down Creighton Renz in the fourth inning. Hunter Hanzlick singled before Breit’s homer made it 2-0. Jerrod Bieberle’s single scored Kyle Lang after a single and Myles Menges walk.
Hoisington pitcher Kaleb Blazek was brilliant with seven strikeouts. Hoisington shortstop Alex Schremmer turned a first-inning double play.
Chase Werth’s sixth-inning double scored Eston Brown.
LARNED 2, COLBY 1
Colby 000 000 0 — 1 6 3
Larned 000 011 x — 2 7 0
Wright and Branum. Gladow and Burris. W—Gladow. L—Wright. 2B—L—Herter; C—Brohum. 3B—L—Burris.
LARNED 3, GOODLAND 2
G 010 000 1 – 2 11 0
L 101 000 1 – 3 7 0
Hays and Mull. Herter and Smith. W—Herter. L—Hays. 2B—L—Rupp.
HOISINGTON 3, TMP 1
H 300 000 0 – 3 5 1
TMP 000 001 0 – 1 4 1
Blazek and Breit. Garcia and Renz. W—Blazek. L—Garcia. 2B—T—Werth. HR—H—Breit.
ZONE 4 COLBY
2 QUALIFY FOR STATE
Larned Indians 2, Colby Sluggers 1
Hoisington 3, Hays TMP Monarchs 1
Larned Indians 3, Goodland 2
Hays-TMP 11, Colby Sluggers 8
Game 5—Thursday—3 p.m.—Hays Monarchs 18-10 vs. Goodland 11-4
Game 6—Thursday 5:30 p.m.—Larned 8-14 vs. Hoisington 7-3 (state qualifier)
Game 7—Thursday 8 p.m.—Winner game 5 vs. loser game 6 (state qualifier)