Mar 22, 2023

T-Bird baseball falls in contest against Highland

Posted Mar 22, 2023 12:23 AM

Cloud County Sports Information

CONCORDIA - Allowing big innings in the fourth and fifth innings to fall into a 7-1 hole, the Cloud County Community College baseball team would see free passes allow visiting Highland Community College to come away with an 8-6 victory at Lee Doyen Field in Concordia on Tuesday.

Dropping the only scheduled contest between teams this season, Cloud County falls to 14-10 overall while Highland bounces back from their weekend series against Butler to improve to 8-16 overall.

A rather quiet start to the game would see Highland retired in order before the T-Birds would turn a leadoff Paul Schuyler double into what would amount to the only run of the game through three innings with a Gavin Roy sacrifice fly bringing home the Bellevue, Nebraska native. Both teams would strand runners in their respective ends of the second before seeing a one-two-three top of the third by Highland as the Scotties would only be able to record one hit through the first three innings.

Drawing a leadoff hit batter to begin the bottom of the third, CCCC would put Roy in motion to steal second and third over the course of the next at-bat to put a runner just 90 feet from scoring with just one out following a strikeout. Continuing their aggressive style on the base paths, Roy would try tagging up on a fly ball into shallow right field and be cut down at the plate as part of an inning-ending double play that would flip momentum in favor of HCC heading to the fourth.

The one-run Cloud County lead would be erased by the Scotties in the top of the fourth as three-straight one-out walks and a hit batter would tie things at 1-1 before seeing a two-RBI single give Highland a 3-1 lead with two runners still on-base and just one out. Continuing their rally with another walk and sacrifice fly, HCC would cap off a four-run inning with just one hit to take control of the game after being held to just base runner the previous three innings combined.

Finally able to work with a lead on the mound, Highland starter Ben Laird would work his first clean inning in the bottom of the fourth to allow the Scotties to get back up to the plate where back-to-back extra-base hits to begin the inning would extend the HCC lead to 5-1 and put a runner at second on an RBI double. After a walk and wild pitch that would put two runners in scoring position for Highland, the Scotties would hit an RBI groundout before drawing two walks and a hit batter with a run coming home to score on a throwing error to give HCC their largest lead of the game at 7-1.

Unable to do anything with a leadoff double from Karson Green in the bottom of the fifth, the deficit for Cloud County would remain at six until the bottom of the sixth when the T-Birds would be able to take advantage of a Scottie pitching change to draw two walks that would be followed by a fielder's choice and a sacrifice fly to bring home Demitri Shakotko and get CCCC back on the board.

Neither team would be able to record a hit in the seventh which would keep things at a 7-2 margin in favor of Highland heading into the eighth where two-straight one-out base hits would put runners on the corners for HCC. A passed ball would bring home an unearned run and give Highland an insurance run to go up 8-2 that would loom large as the T-Birds would get out of the inning over the next two batters with back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.

With the number of opportunities starting to become more and more limited offensively, Cloud County would put together an eighth-inning rally as Roy would draw a leadoff walk that would be followed by a Shakotko single and Danny Infante fielder's choice that would see all three base runners advance due to an HCC error to put two runners on with a run home and still no outs. Delivering a game-changing hit would be freshman Landon Meyer by turning on a pitch and sending it down the left field line and over the fence for a three-run home run as the once six-run Highland lead would suddenly be down to just two at 8-6. Following a flyout and walk that would force a Scottie pitching change, Highland would manage to induce a fielder's choice and flyout to end the inning without any more damage and strand two runners for CCCC that would have potentially tied the game.

Needing to keep the deficit at two to have a chance at continuing their comeback in the bottom of the ninth, Cloud County would get a perfect top of the ninth from reliever Cole Askew with a pair of strikeouts and a groundout keeping Highland from putting together any kind of offensive momentum as the T-Birds would still have an opportunity to try and tie the game. A fielding error on a fly ball would allow Cloud County to put their leadoff batter aboard before a strikeout that would be followed by a game-ending double play as CCCC would never put together a true threat at finishing the comeback in the bottom of the ninth.

Limited offensively to just six hits in 31 at-bats, Cloud County would see Shakotko and Green record two hits each to account for four of the six hits while Meyer would drive home a game-high three on his lone hit of the game. Seven stranded base runners and seven strikeouts would be detrimental for CCCC as Highland would only record seven hits of their own but take advantage of eight walks and two hit batters to score their eight runs despite stranding nine runners.

Seven different pitchers would be seen by Cloud County on Tuesday, with sophomore Brayden Mackey getting the start and taking a no-decision after throwing three scoreless innings while allowing one hit and striking out two. Scott RienguetteMason MunzCarson LatimerLucas O'KeefeLuke Schmedding, and Askew would also throw on the mound for the T-Birds, with Munz, O'Keefe, and Askew combining to throw 4.1 innings of shutout baseball in their relief appearances.

What's Next?
Cloud County will finish off a stretch of five-straight home games with a 2 PM doubleheader to resume Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference action against Butler Community College on Thursday, March 23rd. The Grizzlies have won seven straight games dating back to March 11th following a 4-3 road victory over Coffeyville Community College on Tuesday afternoon.