Cloud County Baseball Season Ends in Plains District Tournament Loss to KCK

Gavin Roy Finished with Three Hits as Cloud County's Leadoff Hitter Against Kansas City Kansas on Thursday, May 18th
Gavin Roy Finished with Three Hits as Cloud County's Leadoff Hitter Against Kansas City Kansas on Thursday, May 18th

Timely two-out hits by Kansas City Kansas Community College would put the Cloud County Community College baseball team in an early hole before seeing a five-run sixth inning by the Blue Devils put things out of reach to end the 2023 T-Bird campaign in an 11-3, eight-inning loss in the 2023 NJCAA Plains District Tournament at Eck Stadium in Wichita, Kansas on Thursday, May 18th.

The season comes to an end for Cloud County with a 37-23 overall record after going 0-2 in the double-elimination bracket portion of the Plains District Tournament while KCKCC keeps their season alive for at least one more day while improving to 38-22 overall. For 20 Cloud County sophomores, time in a T-Bird uniform ends after helping CCCC to 79 wins over the last two seasons and two of Cloud County's three appearances in program history in the NJCAA Plains District Tournament.

Facing one of two of the other seven teams to reach Eck Stadium that they had yet to play against this season, Cloud County would see the early deficit against Kansas City Kansas come right away in the top of the first as a two-out single back up the middle would be followed by a two-run home run by Jase Woita to give the Blue Devils an early shot of momentum in a must-win game for both squads. Looking to answer with some offensive run support of their own, Cloud County would get a leadoff single from Gavin Roy and a wild pitch from KCKCC to move their leadoff runner into scoring position that would be followed by a groundout from Alex Diaz and Danny Infante RBI single to cut the Kansas City Kansas lead in half.

The Blue Devils would put their leadoff runner aboard in the top of the second as a hit batter would start a rally in the next inning of play with a second hit batter coming later in the inning to put runners at first and second with one out. Getting a shallow flyout into center field to keep both runners from advancing, a walk would be issued to keep the inning alive before seeing a well-placed triple into the right field corner clear the bases and bring home three runs on what would be the only hit of the inning for KCKCC and make the score 5-1 in favor of the Blue Devils.

Following the three-run inning by Kansas City Kansas, things would settle in as the score would remain unchanged again until the bottom of the fourth when Cloud County would find themselves an offensive spark to cut into the Blue Devil lead. Drawing a leadoff walk by Karson Green, the T-Birds would see freshman Paul Schuyler draw a walk two batters later and put Green in scoring position with one out. After a flyout that would put a second out on the board and threaten to stop a potential rally before it even started, leadoff hitter Roy would come through with a two-RBI double into the right-center field gap that would score both runners and bring CCCC back within two at 5-3. The Sudbury, Ontario native would take an extra 90 feet with Diaz at the plate on a wild pitch but ultimately get stranded at third as a groundout would end the inning and keep the deficit at two for the T-Birds.

A relatively clean fifth inning would feature just one hit by KCKCC with no offense coming across to change the score as the game would still very much be up for grabs at the midway point of the contest. More trouble would be found by Cloud County in the top of the sixth, however, as back-to-back walks to begin the inning would be followed by a bunt single to load the bases with nobody out. A hit batter would then bring home a run for the Blue Devils and allow KCKCC to add to their lead while forcing a CCCC pitching change. Following the change on the mound, a fielding error on a ground ball that would have allowed Cloud County to cut a run down at the plate would lead to a pair of runs coming home to make the score 8-6. Problems would continue for Cloud County as a passed ball and fielder's choice that would see all runners safely advance bring home another run before an RBI single that would cap off a five-run inning on two hits to break a two-run game open and allow Kansas City Kansas to go up seven.

Needing some kind of response just to try and slow the momentum that was built by KCKCC in the sixth, CCCC would get a one-out pinch-hit double from Eric Foufoulas before seeing a flyout put a second out on the board. A Kolden Howerton walk to flip the lineup over to Roy would be followed by a hit batter issued by the Blue Devils to load the bases and give Cloud County an opportunity to answer with some offense but see a flyout into right field and end the inning with the bases left loaded.

Both teams would go hitless in the seventh to keep things where they were as the T-Birds would see the number of chances left available to them becoming fewer and fewer in a seven-run game heading into the eighth inning. Three straight one-out base runners in the top of the eighth for Kansas City Kansas would be followed by a fielder's choice as a throw to first on a potential inning-ending double play would not be in time with a crucial run scoring for the Blue Devils to put things in run-rule territory in the bottom of the inning. With Cloud County in a must-score situation to extend the game into the ninth, CCCC would be retired in order and see a second consecutive day of missed opportunities prove costly with eight stranded base runners.

Limited to six hits in the game, CCCC would see three of their hits come from leadoff batter Roy who would also drive in two of the three T-Bird runs and score once. Cloud County would manage to draw only four walks while going 3-10 at the plate with runners in scoring position as timely hits never would be found. Four sophomores would combine to throw the eight innings on the mound for CCCC, with Phil Brennaman taking his third loss of the year after going two innings and allowing five runs on three hits before seeing Cole Askew (three innings), Blayne Fritcher (one inning), and Mason Munz (two innings) also throw one final outing in a T-Bird uniform.