BLUE DRAGON BASEBALL
Hutchinson (43-20) vs. Colby (37-21)
Hutchinson CC Sports Information
WICHITA – As if one great escape wasn't enough, the Hutchinson Community College Baseball team pulled off another one Friday to remain alive in the NJCAA Central District Baseball Tournament.
Just a few hours after Hutchinson rallied from eight runs down to eliminate Cloud County 14-12 on Logan Sartori's walk-off home run; the Blue Dragons had a more dramatic comeback against the defending Region VI champion Barton Cougars.
Trailing by three runs entering the bottom of the ninth, the Blue Dragons again avoided elimination with a four-run ninth inning. Ryan Moritz singled home Dylan Nedved with the tying run and Riley Metzger avoided a throw to the plate with the winning run and a 9-8 walk-off victory.
Now 43-20, the Blue Dragons advance to the Central District Tournament loser's bracket final against Colby at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Eck Stadium. The winner of that game moves on to the championship game vs. Cowley at 4 p.m. The Hutch-Colby winner would have to defeat Cowley twice to win the tournament and advance to the NJCAA World Series.
Hutchinson led 4-0 after two innings. Zion Bowlin had a two-out, two-run double in the first inning. Then Sartori ripped a two-run double in the second to give Hutch a 4-0 lead. That double also broke a school record as Saturday broke a four-way tie for career doubles with his 38th double of his career.
Barton then scored six unanswered runs over the next four innings. The Dragons relinquished the lead as Barton score four runs in the sixth. It would have been worse as the Cougars still had runners at first and second with one out. But Zach Philbin came out of the bullpen and with one pitch, he induced a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play and the Dragons trailed 6-4.
Riley Metzger singled through the right side to score Nedved in the seventh to pull the Dragons within 6-5.
The comeback looked doomed when Barton designated hitter Charlie Peyla hit a long two-run home run in the top of the ninth to give Barton an 8-5 lead.
The dramatic ninth-inning comeback started with back-to-back singled by Brian Skillman and Sartori. The Dragons caught a huge break when Barton second baseman Brett Erickson misplayed a Nedved line drive – the play could have been an easy double play and perhaps a triple play – to load the bases with no outs. Zane Schmidt drew a bases-loaded walk to cut the deficit to 8-6.
After Barton made a pitching change, Metzger hit a potential double play ball to second, but hustled down the line to beat the relay throw. Despite the out at second, Sartori scored to cut the Barton lead to 8-7. Will Reetz was then hit by a pitch to load the bases once again.
Then on a 1-0 pitch, Moritz, who was 0 for 4 in the game, lined an opposite-field single to left field. Nedved scored easily, but the throw from left fielder Noah Geekie beat Metzger to the plate, still Metzger avoided the tag of catcher Chandler Bloomer to score the winning run and set off a second wild celebration by the Blue Dragons.
Philbin (5-0) earned the pitching victory with 3 2-3 innings of work out of the bullpen. He pitched well despite the ninth-inning homer to Peyla. Philbin allowed two runs and two hits and struck out three. Mike Brown started and worked the first five innings, striking out six with nine hits and three runs allowed.
The Blue Dragons out-hit Barton 15-14, getting three hits in the bottom of the ninth. Satori, Metzger and Zion Bowlin had doubles in the game.
Metzger went 3 for 5 with two runs and two RBIs. Schmidt was 3 for 4 with a run and RBI. Sartori was 2 for 5 with a run and two RBIs. Metzger and Satori are tied for the team high in postseason hits with 13 each. Zach Baxley was 2 for 3 for his first multi-hit postseason game.