The Sterling College baseball team won the KCAC Baseball Championship on Saturday in Great Bend with a 9-5 win over York College.
The Warriors took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning off a wild pitch by the Panthers, but York put four runs on the board in the bottom of the inning to take a 4-1 lead.
Aaron Stubblefield singled to right-center to start the third inning for Sterling, advancing to third on a wild throw. Beau Kallas then doubled to deep left-center field, scoring Stubblefield to cut the York lead, 4-2, heading into the bottom of the inning.
Sterling kept the hits coming in the fifth inning, connecting on three-straight singles before Gerald Ceballos hit a two-run homer to left field to give the Warriors a 7-4 lead. Andrew Dorado added one more run for Sterling in the top of the seventh off a home run over the left field fence, increasing the Warrior lead, 8-4. Nick Stoll got things going for York in the bottom of the seventh with a double to left field, advancing to third on a Billy Johnson sacrifice bunt. Garrett Anctil hit an RBI single to bring in Stoll, cutting into Sterling’s lead, 8-5.
The Warriors would get one more run in the top of the ninth, and held the Panthers in the bottom of the inning to take the KCAC Baseball Championship title, 9-5. Sterling finished the game with 14 hits, seven RBI’s, two home runs, two doubles and a triple in the victory. Kade Wagner picked up the win for the Warriors after pitching 3.2 innings and allowing just one hit and two walks, while striking out four batters. Ryan Pope got the save in the win, pitching the final 2.1 innings, striking out five batters and allowing no hits.
The Warriors and Panthers will now await their seeds in the 60th Annual NAIA Baseball World Series. Opening Round qualifiers and seeding will be announced May 13.The 45-team NAIA Baseball Opening Round will be played out May 17 – 20 and features nine, five-team double elimination tournaments. The nine Opening Round champions and World Series host Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) make up the field at the 2016 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series. The event, which is taking place at Harris Field for the 17th-consecutive season and 25th time overall, is scheduled to run from May 27 – June 3.