CLAY CENTER — Continuing to make quick work of its games, the Concordia High School baseball team cruised to a pair of North Central Kansas League wins over Clay Center on Monday.
Nathan Gieber pitched three perfect innings as the Panthers blasted Clay Center 20-0 in the first game of the twin bill. Concordia won the second game 20-3 in four innings to improve to 12-2 overall and 7-1 in league play.
The Panthers won its last seven games by run rule, and have not gone seven innings since a 5-4 win over Southeast of Saline back on April 26. Concordia, which has already locked up the number one seed in the Class 4A regional tournament, will wrap up the regular season with two league games at Abilene on Thursday. The Panthers can clinch at least a share of a fifth straight NCKL title with two wins over the Cowboys.
“We just need to keep playing well. Every games means something from here on out,” Concordia coach Brandt Hutchinson said. Gieber, now 5-0, retired all nine batters he faced in game one against Clay Center. He struck out six.
Concordia put up six runs on five hits and three walks in the top of the first inning. Gieber, Nick Thomas and Tanner Gilbert doubled home runs in the inning. Jordan Mehl and Skyler Hittle had producing singles.
Mehl also drew a walk to force home a run.
The Panthers extended the lead to 14-0 with eight runs in the second inning. Gieber singled, doubled, drove in a run and scored two runs in the inning.
Hittle had a two-run double.
Mehl singled to drive in two runs.
Gilbert drove in a run.
Hittle hit a three-run home run as Concordia tacked on six rus in the third inning.
Gieber drove in a run.
The game ended after three innings because of the 15-run rule.
Hittle was 3-for-3 at the plate with six runs batted in.
Mehl had two hits in three at bats, drove in four runs and scored three.
Gieber was 3-for-4 with three runs batted in. He scored four runs. Gilbert had two hits, drove in two runs and scored three.
Thomas had two hits.
Sending 15 batters to the plate, the Panthers bolted to a 10-0 lead in the first inning in game two.
Trevor Nordell singled, drove in three runs and scored two in the inning.
Drake Hake had two singles, knocked in a run and scored twice.
Mehl was hit by a pitch, walked drove in a run and scored two runs.
Hittle had a run producing single.
Thomas and Will Strommen drove in runs.
Concordia scored three runs in the second inning, and led 13-0. Derek Pearson doubled home Gilbert. Mehl and Nordell drove in one run each. Taking advantage of three walks and a hit batter, the Panthers scored two runs in the top of the third inning.
Pearson singled home one run.
Caleb Strait walked with the bases loaded to force home a run.
Clay Center scored three runs in the bottom of the third inning, and trailed 15-3.
Concordia added five runs in the fourth inning.
Ethan Bechard had a two-run double in the inning.
Braden Johnson drove in two runs with a single.
Hittle got a run home with a ground ball.
The game ended after the fourth inning because of the 10-run rule.
Mehl pitched two and a third innings to get the win. He gave up three runs on five hits and struck out three.
Johnson worked an inning and two-thirds and retired all five batters he faced. He struck out four.
Nordell drove in four runs and scored two for the Panthers.
Pearson had two hits and drove in two runs.
Hake was 2-for-2 at the plate with two runs scored.
Hittle and Johnson drove in two runs each and Strommen scored three runs.