There was no reason for the Haysville Heat to anticipate anything but a nailbiter with the El Dorado Broncos on Tuesday night, since the majority of their games during the Jayhawk League season have been just that.
"We even talked about it before the game," Heat third baseman K.C. Pfister said. "Expect a close game."
But when Haysville scored five runs in the first two innings, it began thinking differently. The Heat were looking for a run-rule win, and got it, beating the defending National Baseball Congress World Series champions 11-2 in seven innings in an NBC Midwest regional game at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
The Heat, which leads the Jayhawk League, buried the Broncos by taking advantage of several El Dorado mistakes, and its early lead came as a result of El Dorado starter Andrew Adams' failure to throw his secondary pitches for strikes.
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Adams escaped the first with minimal damage, as the Heat loaded the bases with no outs but scored one run, on a sacrifice fly by Clint Stroud, before Ben Harty and Gary Owens struck out.
Adams wasn't as fortunate in the second, following his 23-pitch first inning with 28 more in the second. No. 9 hitter Scott Kimble reignited a rally with a four-pitch walk after Ben Kline grounded into a double play, and a single and a walk gave the Heat a second bases-loaded situation in as many innings.
The Heat didn't waste another chance for a big inning. Kimble scored on a wild pitch, as did Justin Miller, advancing to home from second on a pitch that bounced high and far away from catcher Tyler Smith.
After an off-speed pitch bounced well in front of home plate, Adams grooved a fastball to Pfister, who drove it out to left field for a two-run homer that gave the Heat a 5-0 lead.
"He threw me a change-up and I hit that one pretty good foul," Pfister said. "After that he threw me and off-speed pitch, and he wasn't looking too confident in his off-speed pitches."
Adams threw 90 pitches in four innings; his replacement, Tyler Stefan, fared just as poorly, throwing 55 in his two innings. The Broncos walked seven, committed three errors while misplaying several other balls, and struggled on the bases.
El Dorado scored two runs in the fifth, but it could have put a bigger dent in Haysville's lead if Smith hadn't been doubled off first base on a Jacob White lineout.
In the top of the sixth, Haysville got back on track toward the run-rule, as Ben Harty led off with a towering home run to center field. More El Dorado mistakes helped the Heat in the seventh, as Harty's hit was misplayed into a ground-rule double, and Matt Croft walked in Haysville's 11th run.
That put the Heat in line for the run-rule with an eight-run lead, and Haysville held the Broncos scoreless in the bottom of the seventh. Kyle Cremers pitched a complete game for the Heat, which earned a berth in Thursday's championship game against the winner of El Dorado and the Derby Twins, who play tonight.
"It's definitely a confidence booster," Cremers said. "Winning today and getting (today) off gives everybody a chance to heal up and come back healthy and strong on Thursday."
Haysville Heat141 121 1 — 11 14 2 El Dorado Broncos000 020 0 — 2 7 3
Cremers and Harty; Adams, Stefan (5), Croft (7) and Smith. W — Cremers. L — Adams. HR — Haysville: Pfister, Harty.
Haysville batting: Miller 2-5, Shaver 2-3, Pfister 1-2, Stroud 2-4, Harty6 2-5, Owens 1-4, Loehrs 3-3, Purdin 0-1, Kline 1-5, Kimble 0-2.
El Dorado batting: Frey 0-3, Fisher 2-3, Noonan 1-3, Walker 0-3, Bates 0-3, Giller 0-3, Smith 2-3, DeBord 0-1, White 1-2, Rea 1-3.
Haysville pitching: Cremers 7-1.
El Dorado pitching: Adams 4-6, Stefan 2-3, Croft 1-1.
Derby 13, Valley Center 9 — Derby erupted for seven runs in the sixth.
Chris Connelly homered for Derby.
Ryan Bohanan went 4 for 5 and drove in two runs for Valley Center. David Harris homered and went 3 for 4, driving in four runs.
Derby Twins200 107 030 — 13 11 1 Valley C. Diamond Dwags030 300 003 — 9 15 1
Hudson, Durst (6), Delong (9) and Marshall; Mateychick, Strode (6), Wysocki (6), Webb (8) and Slauter. W — Hudson. L — Strode. HR — Derby: Connelly; Valley Center: Harris.
Derby batting: Bayliff 2-5, Howick 1-4, Jones 0-4, Gregorich 2-3, Waddell 1-4, Watten 1-4, Alexander 0-1, Connelly 1-3, Marshall 2-3, Lee 0-1, Greenwell 1-4.
Valley Center batting: Ross 2-5, Dyvig 1-4, Cox 0-1, Jordan 1-4, Glasser 0-1, Hutton 2-4, Morgan 1-3, Marasco 0-0 Bohanan 4-5, Slauter 0-2, Rymel 0-1, Harris 3-4, Murphy 1-5.
Derby pitching: Hudson 5-6, Durst 3-0, Delong 1-3.
Valley Center pitching: Mateychick 5 1/3-5, Strode 0-3, Wysocki 1 2/3-2, Webb 2-2.
Elite Sluggers 8, Park City 0 — Elite Sluggers' Casey Barnes shut out Park City on four hits.
Ronnie Romo went 2 for 3 and drove in five runs for the Sluggers.
Park City Rangers000 000 0 — 0 4 1 Elite Sluggers310 301 x — 8 10 0
Seier, Flora (2), Schuyler (6) and Wellman; Barnes and Sullins. W — Barnes. L — Seier.
Park City batting: Dunnichay 0-3, Piper 0-3, Tatum 0-1, Loggins 0-2, Wick 0-3, Hoke 1-3, Stevenson 1-3, Wellman 2-2, Bennie 0-3.
Sluggers batting: Noefler 0-3, Douglas 1-2, Johnson 2-4, Sullins 2-3, Manning 1-2, Romo 2-3, Macari 0-4, Lentz 2-4, Holbrook 0-2.
Park City pitching: Seier 1 2/3-1, Flora 3 1/3-3, Schuyler 1-1.
Sluggers pitching: Barnes 7-0.
Derby 13, Valley Center 9
Elite Sluggers 8, Park City 0
Haysville 11, El Dorado 2
Derby vs. Elite Sluggers, 5 p.m.
El Dorado vs. Derby-Sluggers winner, 8 p.m.