Special to the Grove Sun
KANSAS - Underneath some of the best weather thus far this baseball season, the Kansas Comets took their respective turns whipping up on Wyandotte with a pair of run rule victories Friday evening at Dee Neel Stadium.
Left-hander Brett Odle got the start for the Comets and Bears’ leadoff man Zack Essex reached on the first of a pair of Kansas errors in the outfield. After getting the next batter to popup to his infield, Odle walked the visitors’ Scotty Rotzal. With runners on first and second, Wyandotte cleanup hitter Andrew Douthit crushed a one hopper to centerfield. The outfielder and his backup misplayed the ball that rolled to the fence, scoring Essex and Rotzal. Douthit made it 3-0 when he scored on Colton Davis’s double.
The Comets came right back in the home half of the first when Cody Bright, three of four on the day with three runs scored, led off with a single. Two hole hitter Austin Hunt followed with a line shot into the deepest part of the outfield and motored around the bases for a two-run inside the park home run.
Down 3-2 in the bottom of the second inning, the Comet offense came unleashed. Sending 10 batters to the dish, Kansas got a leadoff double from Casey Fencer, followed by a pair of Wyandotte miscues to load the bases. A Bright single plated Fencer and a walk to Hunt had the sacks jammed again. Wade Lewis cracked a single to score a run to set up the inning’s big blow. Still with no outs, senior Zack Carnes ripped a two RBI single. When the dust had cleared in the second, Kansas had scored five times, taking a 7-3 lead.
After a scoreless home half of the third, Wyandotte’s Ty Lewis led off with a triple and came in to score when the Kansas second sacker booted a routine Essex grounder. Odle then walked his counterpart, Jake Lusk, to put a pair of runners on the paths. Essex then scored his second run of the game when Douthit picked him up with a another RBI hit. The Comets’ second error of the frame allowed Lusk to score to pull the visitors to within one.
But whatever thoughts the Bears had about pulling off a comeback were summarily put to rest in the bottom of the fourth. Sending 15 players to bat, Kansas banged out nine hits, picked up five walks and a hit batsmen, that in addition to a pair of errors, resulted in a 15-run inning. Seniors C.J. Foreman and Wade Lewis led the offensive barrage with a pair of hits and three RBIs each. Fellow 12th grader Carnes got the win for the Comets in relief of Odle in the 22-6 victory.
Kansas 7, Westville 4 (Saturday)
OKLAHOMA CITY-It was a special day Saturday for the Kansas and Westville baseball teams, as they were given the opportunity to play each other on Triple A OKC Redhawk Field within Oklahoma City’s Brickyard Entertainment District. And when the day’s memorable events were concluded, it was the Kansas Comets that were able to take the long bus ride home secure in the knowledge that their performance was on a par with their upscale venue.
With Cody Bright on the hill for Kansas and Chandler Smith doing likewise for the Yellow Jackets, both teams’ offenses went down in order in their opening pair of at bats. In the top of the third, Westville opened the door for the Comet offense when the Jacket shortstop booted Casey Fencer’s hard leadoff grounder. Jared Lamont put runners on the corners when he followed with a single. Lamont managed to get in scoring position, only to have the next two batters go down. But Austin Hunt cashed in both the runners, when he rifled a line shot in to the deepest corner of the right field wall, scoring Fencer and Lamont. The subsequent Kansas batter was caught looking on a Smith pitch to end the rally.
In the home half of the third, Bright walked the bases loaded and looked like he might get out of the frame with the help of his defense. But with two outs, Smith helped his own cause when he lofted a bloop ‘Texas Leaguer’ down the right field line, to knot the affair at two.
The Comets came right back in their half of the fourth, when Zac Carnes led off and was struck in the middle of the back with a three and two pitch. Carnes swiped second and advanced to third on C.J. Foreman’s infield sacrifice. Johnny Lewis plated Carnes with a one-out RBI single to regain the lead. Lewis move up 90 feet on a Fencer sacrifice and made it 4-2 on Westville’s second error of the game.
In the bottom of the fourth the Yellow Jackets parlayed Wesley Walkman’s leadoff infield single with Matt Holbird’s sacrifice bunt and a Josh Allen base hit to scratch out a run of their own.
In the fifth and final frame, the Kansas bats put things clearly in their corner. Picking up five hits from their first six batters, the Comets sent eight batters to the plate before Smith could put out the fire. Bright and Hunt reached on back to back singles where, with one out, Carnes loaded the sacks with his base rap. Cleanup hitter Foreman then struck the big blow when Bright and Hunt scored on his two-RBI hit. Kansas added an insurance run when Johnny Lewis belted his second run scoring hit of the game and Carnes crossed the dish.
Down 7-3, Westville’s Smith worked relief pitcher Lewis for a one-out walk, moved into scoring position on Walkman’s two-out single and scored on Holbird’s base hit. But Lewis fanned the next batter and preserved what Coach Bill Hix would eventually describe as, “A huge moment in Comet baseball history.”