CCCC sweeps Red Devils to advance in playoffs
One program first led to another for the Cloud County Community College baseball team.
Hosting a first-round series in the Region VI /Central District playoffs for the first time in program history, Cloud County needed just two games to eliminate Allen County Community College.
The Thunderbirds held on for a 9-7 win in the first game of the best of three series on Friday, and then blasted Allen County 14-4 in the second game Saturday afternoon.
Cloud County advances to the second round of the playoffs for the first time.
The T-Birds (33-22) will play Cowley College (41-12) at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Eck Stadium in Wichita.
“We're absolutely ecstatic about the chance to go to Wichita and continue to play. This is the fun time of year,” Cloud County coach Eric Gilliland said, “I'm so happy for the players and my tremendous assistant coaches. And I'm happy for the alumni, some of them who were in the stands, who helped us build this thing. It's been a special day and one we'll remember for a long time.
Cowley College, the top seed out of the Jayhawk Conference East Division, needed three games to get past Pratt Community College.
The Tigers won the first game 5-2, lost the second 13-6 and then rolled a 15-1 victory in the third and deciding game.
Cloud County took a 9-4 lead into the ninth inning in game one of its series with Allen County, and held off the Red Devils, 9-7.
The T-Birds then rode the arm of sophomore Jackson Dietel and the bat of freshman Griffin Larsen to the 14-4 victory on Saturday.
Dietel gave up three runs, one earned, on six hits, struck out six and walked one in seven innings of work.
“I thought it was vintage Dietel,” Gilliland said, “He is one of the best competitors I've ever coached, and there was nobody else we wanted out there to send us to the next round. In my experience, in this type of situation, you play to win the game right in front of you and worry about the next game when you get there. We lined up our best guys to pitch game one and game two, and we got to save (Josh) Laukkanen too.”
Griffin hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning and drove in five runs in the series clincher.
Allen County put up two unearned runs against Dietel in the top of the first inning.
Dyland Price singled to drive in both runs.
Cloud County struck for five runs in the bottom of the third inning, and would not trail again.
Grant Schmidt walked with the bases loaded to get Ramon Vingochea home with the first run.
Kade Wallace followed with a run producing single.
Dietel scored when Davis Pratt was hit by a pitch.
An error on a ball hit by Larsen got two more runs home.
Cloud County extended the lead to 8-2 when Larsen homered with Pratt and Schmidt aboard in the fifth inning.
“He's just been missing balls, but he got one time with a couple,” Gilliland said, “He's another bat in our lineup that can do those things, and we'd like to have him going here down the stretch.”
The Red Devils made it an 8-3 game with a run in the top of the sixth inning.
A run producing single by Dietel gave the T-Birds a 9-3 advantage.
An unearned run in the seventh inning put Cloud County up 10-3.
Allen County tacked on one run in the top of the eighth inning, and trailed 10-4.
The T-Birds, scoring four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, ended the game because of the 10-run rule.
Griffin singled to drive in Wallace and Dietel.
Pratt scored on a base hit by Rice, and Larsen got home on an error.
Tylor Jans pitched the eighth inning for Cloud County and gave up one run on one hit. He walked two.
Cloud County scored 14 runs on nine hits.
Connor Laux had two hits.
Dietel, Schmidt, Wallace, Pratt, Larsen and Vingochea scored two runs each.
Cloud County and Allen County were tied at 1-1 through two innings in game one of the series on Friday.
The Red Devils took a 3-1 lead with two runs in the top of the third.
Cloud County answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Laux scored the first run in the sacrifice fly by Wallace.
A base hit by Rice plated Schmidt and Dietel.
Schmidt hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning to put the T-Birds up 5-3.
Allen County closed the gap to 5-4 with a run in the top of the sixth inning.
One run in the bottom of the sixth, two in the seventh, and one in the eighth gave Cloud County a 9-7 advantage.
The Red Devils attempted to mount a rally in the top of the ninth.
Lee Musgraves drove in one run with a single.
Kameron Kilchrist followed with a two-run single.
With an Allen County baserunner on third, Trey Asher recorded the final out to pick up the save for Cloud County.
“Playoff baseball in general can be crazy, and you have to be able to handle the highs and lows,” Gilliland said, “There were certainly some of those in this game.”
Asher was the fifth pitcher used by Cloud County in the game.
Austin Seidel started and went two and a third innings. He gave up three runs on five hits, struck out two and walked one.
Bradan Pierce worked three and two-thirds innings to get the win. He allowed one run on one hit, struck out eight and walked three.
Joseph Karall gave up three runs on three hits, struck out three and walked one in two and two-thirds innings.
Corben Peters gave up one hit and walked one.
Asher then got the final out.
Schmidt had three hits in three at bats, drove in three runs and scored three.
Rice was 3-for-4 with two runs batted in.
Pratt had two hits.
The Region VI/Central District playoffs now switches to a double-elimination format.
The winner of the Cloud County-Cowley game will play the winner of the game between Butler Community College (39-17) and Barton Community College (35-20) at 4 p.m. Thursday.
The losers of those two games play at 10 a.m. Thursday.
In the other first-round game, Hutchinson Community College (40-19) plays Fort Scott Community College (37-19) and Colby Community College (35-20) plays Johnson County Community College.
The champions advance to the NJCAA JUCO World Series May 25-31 in Grand Junction, Colo.