PRATT — A big first inning and no-hit pitching propelled the Concordia Blues to an 8-0 win over Wellington in the opening round of the American Legion Baseball Class AA State Tournament Thursday afternoon.
Concordia scored seven runs on seven hits in the top of the first inning.
Skyler Hittle and Jordan Mehl combined on a five-inning no-hitter as the Blues advanced to the semifinals.
Concordia will play Iola at 6:00 tonight in the semifinals of the double-elimination tournament.
Iola knocked off Hays-TMP 11-1 in the opening round.
Ellis slipped past Rock City 1-0, and Sabetha downed Pratt, 11-2.
Ellis and Sabetha will meet in the other semifinal tonight.
Wellington takes on Iola in the losers’ bracket and Rock City plays Pratt.
Hittle pitched the first four innings of the game. He struck out one and walked three.
Mehl worked a perfect fifth inning. He struck out one.
Concordia sent 11 batters to the plate in the first inning.
Bowe Behymer led off with a single.
Mehl reached base on an error and Nathan Gieber drove in a run with a base hit.
Hittle followed with a run-producing single.
Trevor Nordell and Chanse Copple each singled.
Conner Eilert reached base on a fielder’s choice.
Tanner Gilbert knocked in two runs with a single.
In his second at bat in the inning, Behymer walked with two out.
Mehl drove in Eilert and Gilbert with a double to put the Blues up 7-0.
Wellington loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a hit batter in the third inning, but Hittle got a strikeout to end the threat.
A hit batter, a walk and a sacrifice in the bottom of the fourth inning gave Wellington runners on second and third with two out. A ground ball ended the inning.
Mehl then retired Wellington in order in the bottom of the fifth.
Trey Dubbert led off the top of the sixth inning with a walk.
Ryan Perkins walked and Gilbert singled to load the bases.
A single by Will Strommen got Dubbert home and ended the game because of the eight-run rule.
Gieber and Gilbert had two hits each for Concordia.