By William / www.mcpherson-county-ks.com
GREAT BEND – The Little River baseball team is one game from being state champions in Class 2-1A after a quarter-final win over Elkhart and a semi-final upset of number one seed Colony/Crest.
Both games displayed Little River’s resiliency as they scored come from behind wins in both, beating Elkhart 7-5 before coming from behind again to defeat Colony/Crest 10-8.
Now 22-5 for the season, the Redskins were waiting for the winner of the game with Eskridge/Mission Valley and Valley Falls in the other semi-final.
Against Elkhart on Thursday, the Redskins fell behind 4-0 after four innings before putting a pair of runs in the books in the top of the fifth and another run in the top of the sixth. Trailing 5-3 heading into the seventh, Little River piled four runs onto the scoreboard to score the final two-run, 7-5 win.
Opening the game on the mound for the Redskins was Braden Young and he went 6.2 innings, giving up seven hits, just three earned runs and walking two while striking out six on 108 pitches. Logan Renken entered in the seventh and needed just four pitches to close out the final out of the game.
Dalton Mantz, Ty Herzog and Young all recorded a pair of hits for Little River while Kaden Schafer had a pair of runs batted in with his triple.
Friday morning the Redskins battled unbeaten Colony/Crest in a state semi-final game, and the Redskins once again recovered from a large deficit to gain an extra inning, 10-8 upset win and a spot in the Class 2-1A state championship game.
Both teams put a run on the board in the first inning before Colony/Crest added two in the second and three in the third, giving them a commanding 6-1 advantage which they carried into the top of the fifth inning.
Little River powered across five runs in the top of the fifth to tie the game at 6-6 before Colony/Crest took back the lead by adding a run in the bottom of the inning.
While the Redskins tied the score again with a run in the top of the sixth, neither team scored again through the seventh, putting the game into extra innings. Thanks to a three run scoring double by Kaden Schafer in the top of the eighth, the Redskins took the lead and then held on for the final 10-8 victory and a spot earned in the state championship game.
Schafer finished the game with a pair of hits for Little River and they were both doubles, resulting in a total of five runs batted in to lead the Redskin bats. Braden Young also had a pair of hits in the game and Grant Stephens hit for a double.
The Redskins gained the victory despite only having seven hits and committing seven errors on defense thanks much to Colony/Crest pitchers walking six and their defense recording six errors as well.
Little River started Logan Renken on the mound, and he went three innings, throwing 81 pitches and giving up just a pair of hits, two earned runs and walking five to go with three strikeouts. Dalton Mantz threw 87 pitches in the final five innings, giving up four hits, just one earned run and walking one while striking out eight.
LITTLE RIVER vs. Elkhart = GAME 1 STATE TOURNAMENT
LITTLE RIVER 0-0-0-0-2-1-4=7-9-6 > Elkhart 3-0-0-1-1-0-0=5-7-3
LITTLE RIVER REDSKINS PITCHING (IP-P-H-R-ER-SO-BB): Braden Young 6.2-108-7-5-3-6-2; Logan Renken 0.1-4-0-0-0-1-0. Team Totals: 7.0-112-7-5-3-7-2.
LITTLE RIVER REDSKINS HITTING (AB-R-H-RBI-BB): Braden Young 2-1-2-1-2; Dalton Mantz 4-1-2-1-0; Kaden Schafer 4-1-1-2-0; Grant Stephens 4-0-1-0-0; Logan Renken 2-2-0-0-1; Ty Herzog 4-1-2-0-0; Treygan Birdsong 4-0-0-0-0; Spencer Strecker 3-1-0-0-1; Corbin Herbst 4-0-1-0-0. Team Totals: 31-7-9-4-4. 3B (1): Schafer – 1. SB (4): Young, Renken, Herzog, Birdsong.
LITTLE RIVER vs. Colony/Crest = STATE SEMI-FINALS
LITTLE RIVER 1-0-0-0-5-1-0-3=10-7-7 > Colony/Crest 1-2-3-0-1-0-0-1=8-6-6
LITTLE RIVER REDSKINS PITCHING (IP-P-H-R-ER-SO-BB): Logan Renken 3.0-81-2-6-2-3-5; Dalton Mantz 5.0-87-4-2-1-8-1. Team Totals: 8.0-168-6-8-3-11-6.
LITTLE RIVER REDSKINS HITTING (AB-R-H-RBI-BB): Braden Young 4-3-2-0-0; Dalton Mantz 4-2-1-0-1; Kaden Schafer 4-2-2-5-1; Grant Stephens 5-0-1-2-0; Logan Renken 4-0-0-0-1; Ty Herzog 5-0-1-2-0; Treygan Birdsong 2-0-0-0-1; Spencer Strecker 3-1-0-0-1; Corbin Herbst 3-2-0-0-1. Team Totals: 34-10-7-9-6. 2B (3): Schafer – 2; Stephens – 1. SB (8): Young – 3; Mantz – 2; Stephens, Herzog, Birdsong – 1.
(William is a free-lance writer covering McPherson County Activities – he can be reached at email@example.com)