Like an annoying fly buzzing around in the hot summer heat at Lawrence-Dumont stadium on Monday night, the Seattle Studs were having a difficult time getting rid of the Hutchinson Monarchs.
Seattle had already put 14 runners on base compared to the Monarchs' three in the first eight innings, yet only had a two-run lead.
The Studs finally found their fly-swatter in Bobby Joe Tannehill, who crushed a 2-2 pitch over the right-field fence with two outs in the ninth to put the finishing touches on their 6-1 victory.
The loss eliminates the Monarchs, while Seattle advances to face the winner of tonight's game _ the Haysville Heat versus the Topeka Golden Giants _ in a loser's bracket semifinal on Wednesday.
"You always want to bury a team early, but you're not always going to get the breaks," Tannehill said. "But when you get a three-run shot like that to go up by five, that felt pretty good. That buried them."
Despite being dominated on the bases, Hutchinson stayed in it thanks to a couple of base-running blunders by the Studs in the early innings.
Two runners were thrown out at the plate in the first two innings, and Hutchinson actually took a 1-0 lead on a C.J. Dailey single that scored Jacob McNamara.
"Now we're chasing them," Seattle manager Barry Aden said. "We had plenty of opportunities there to be up two or three runs. We just had a couple of bad reads early that really kept them going."
But what kept the Studs level was a magnificent pitching performance from their starter, Scott Kuzminsky. In his eight innings, Kuzminsky struck out eight Monarchs and allowed three hits.
"I think it was my off-speed tonight," Kuzminsky said. "I was able to get ahead in the count with my fastball because I was able to hit my spots with it. Then that let me have success with my off-speed pitches and keep them guessing."
Seattle tied the score in the third inning, but didn't take the lead until the sixth inning when a two-out single from Bobby LeCount scored one and a Hutchinson error brought home another for a 3-1 lead.
Even with Kuzminsky dominating, Hutchinson was able to stick around in the game until the ninth inning. But the Monarchs' bats never produced.
"We were right there," Hutchinson manager Deron McCue said. "Even with all of that, we were only down by two. I kept waiting for us to put together two or three hits, but we just couldn't get anything going offensively."
Then Tannehill ended the hopes of a Monarchs' comeback with his three-run home run.
Four Hutchinson pitchers combined to tally 10 walks and allow seven hits.
"That was the kill shot by Bobby," Aden said.