Special to the Sun
KANSAS-On the heels of an ugly win and even uglier loss versus Westville on Wednesday, Kansas needed another victory on Thursday to keep their season alive. And after an inglorious beginning, the Comet bats came back in full force, scoring four times each in the 5th and 6th innings to run away with the district title.
Chance Bowling got the starting nod for Kansas and pitched his way out of some early self-made trouble in Thursday’s rubber match of the series.
With a pair of runners on base in the first inning, Bowling got Westville’s Jackie White to line out to second to escape any damage. Bowling’s counterpart, Dallas McCollum got the Comet side down in order for the end of a scoreless first.
But McCollum led off the top of the second with a towering drive to right-centerfield that caught a tailwind and landed behind the Kansas right fielder. The error would allow McCollum to touch them all to give the Yellow Jackets the lead.
After getting the first two batters easily, another wind blown error put Westville’s White on first. McCollum moved him along with a hit and Dylan McReynolds chased them both home with a two RBI double to make the score 3-0.
Following an animated chat between Coach Bill Hix and his team, the Comet offense lumbered to life. Wade Lewis started things off with a one-out single. Lewis moved to second on a Zac Carnes single.
Both runners advanced on a passed ball and scored on Kelsey Wells three-bagger. Wells would eventually score the first of his three runs in the game on Bowling’s second base knock.
With the score knotted at three, neither team could get on the scoreboard until the Kansas half of the fifth. C.J. Foreman led off the frame with a single, stole second and moved to third on another Wells hit.
Both Wells and Foreman crossed the plate on Bowling’s two-run double. And by the end of the inning, nine Comets had come to bat and four had scored. For the final three innings, Bowling was untouchable and teammate Jared Lamont added a two run triple and scored on Johnny Lewis’s second hit of the game for the final margin. Bowling finished four-for-four at the plate.
The Comets will travel to Verdigris for the regional round of the playoffs. Kansas will open the tournament on Thursday at approximately 3:30 against Vian.
The other two teams in the regional, Verdigris and Sequoyah-Tahlequah, will open the tournament at 1:30 .
The winners of the first two games will square off at 5:30 the same day, while the losers will play at 7:30. The tournament is scheduled to run through Saturday, if necessary, with the winner earning a berth in the state tournament.