Cloud County Baseball Opens Region VI Playoffs with 4-1 Home Loss to Allen Community College

Landon Meyer Scored the Lone Cloud County Run of the Game by Coming Around to Score on a Nolan Freund Double in the Fourth
Landon Meyer Scored the Lone Cloud County Run of the Game by Coming Around to Score on a Nolan Freund Double in the Fourth

Held to just six hits and unable to take advantage of five free base runners, the Cloud County Community College baseball team was limited to one run in the opening game of a best-of-three series against Allen Community College to fall by a score of 4-1 at Lee Doyen Field in Concordia, Kansas on Thursday, May 9th.

Held to one or fewer runs for just the fourth time this season in 57 games, Cloud County drops to 38-19 overall and will face a must-win situation to keep their season alive on Friday afternoon while the Red Devils steal game one of a best-of-three series for the second-straight season and improve to 21-33 overall this season.

As expected, both base runners and runs were at a premium with both the T-Birds and Red Devils throwing their game one starting pitcher as the two offenses combined for just three hits through two innings of play. Working around a leadoff single and one-out single in the top of third by getting a strikeout and fielders choice to end the inning, Cloud County put a leadoff base runner of their own on in the bottom of the third but was unable to score Austin Coyle who ended up stranded at third to end the inning.

A leadoff home run by Armando Navarro of Allen broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fourth to give ACC a 1-0 lead followed by a walk that was erased on a 1-3 pickoff by Kevin Mannell to limit the damage to just one run. Following two quick outs with a lineout and groundout, Cloud County put together a two-out rally with Landon Meyer drawing a walk and stealing second before coming around to score on a Nolan Freund RBI double that reached the warning track in right field. Continuing the inning with Cam MaCleod getting hit by a pitch, Coyle followed by also getting hit by a pitch to load the bases before seeing CCCC's Paul Schuyler fly out to center field to end the inning with the bases loaded.

Momentum shifted with Allen stranding three T-Bird base runners to end the fourth as the Red Devils used a leadoff double and two-out RBI single to reclaim the lead at 2-1 in the fifth and added another single run in the sixth after a one-two-three bottom of the fifth for the T-Birds to make it a 3-1 ACC lead. Set down in order once again, Cloud County kept the deficit to two runs heading into the bottom of the seventh by setting down Allen in the top of the seventh with two strikeouts and a lineout with the game still very much up for grabs. A chance to grab momentum with a one-out walk by Coyle followed by a pinch-hit Easton Mould single to put the game-tying run on base, CCCC saw the inning end two batters later with an infield fly followed by a popup to the Red Devil short stop in shallow left field to end the inning with two more stranded runners.

After being turned back offensively yet again, Cloud County was forced to fend off a potential rally from Allen as the Red Devils drew a leadoff walk and moved the runner into scoring position on a wild pitch followed by a fielders choice on a sacrifice bunt that saw both the runner and batter safely advance. A key strikeout by reliever John Klus put a big first out on the board followed by a stolen base for ACC to put two runners in scoring position that ultimately did not affect anything as Klus responded by striking out the final two batters to get out of the inning unscathed.

Despite keeping Allen off the scoreboard in the top of the eighth, CCCC was unable to get anything going against Red Devil starting pitcher Jack Bland who worked his third one-two-three inning in a four-inning stretch to maintain the two-run lead for ACC and send things to the ninth. A one-out solo home run for the Red Devils added another insurance run for Allen to make it a 4-1 game heading into the bottom of the ninth with Cloud County putting their first two batters of the inning safely on base before being retired in order to end the game.

Stranding six base runners through the first four innings of the game, the T-Birds never could get out to an early lead which proved costly as CCCC never led and was forced to play from behind from the fifth inning on despite allowing just four runs on eight hits. Offensively, Cloud County was held to six hits with Freund accounting for three of the six hits and the lone RBI of the game for the T-Birds with the top five in the CCCC lineup going a combined 1-14. On the mound, Mannell and Klus each struck out six to hold the Red Devils to a .235 batting average but were hurt by five walks that were issued along with the two solo home runs for ACC.

What's Next?
Facing elimination, Cloud County will attempt to keep their season alive with game two of the best-of-three series set for 2 PM on Friday, May 10th at Lee Doyen Field. The T-Birds will be looking to force game three of the series and play in a winner-take-all game on Saturday afternoon while Allen will be looking to advance to the double-elimination bracket portion of the Plains District Tournament for the first time since 2016.