NBC Baseball

NBC World Series: Staying the course

Haysville needed an unusual variety of offense — a three-run bunt early and three home runs later — to remain unbeaten in the National Baseball Congress World Series.

Its march to the winner's bracket final came off track briefly before the Heat regained control of Monday's 12-6 win over the Denver Cougars at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

Haysville plays Liberal tonight in a matchup of the tournament's lone unbeaten teams. The Cougars are off until Wednesday, when the final six teams in the tournament square off in the quarterfinals.

Denver entered the game with a 1.52 ERA, allowing five earned runs in three victories. Those numbers took a beating from the Heat.

No. 9 hitter Scott Kimble hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning. Gary Owens smacked a line drive over the fence in left for two runs in the sixth. Later that inning, leadoff hitter Justin Miller homered to left to drive in three runs and give the Heat a 10-2 lead.

Haysville trailed 1-0 entering the bottom of the third. The Heat started its offense with small ball that worked in a big way.

Denver pitcher Brett Nathan hit Kimble to start the inning. Miller followed with a single. Nate Shaver placed a bunt near the third-base foul line, forcing Nathan to hustle to grab the ball. He fielded it, wheeled and threw over the glove of his leaping first baseman.

Kimble and Miller scored while right fielder Andrew Riddick chased the ball in foul territory. Riddick found it in time to keep Shaver at third, until his throw through the infield ended up in the Cougars dugout, awarding Shaver home plate and giving the Heat a 3-1 lead.

An inning later, the Heat started its power show on its way to building an eight-run lead and threatening to run-rule the Cougars.

Heat starter Greg Hendrix might have made it happen.

He held the Cougars to six hits and two runs over six innings. The lefty struck out four and kept the Cougars beating the ball into the turf.

Denver rallied against his replacements, starting with Tucker Stone in the seventh. Stone gave up three runs on five hits, retiring only two batters. Grant Ledbetter took over with the bases loaded and struck out Devin Kelly to end the inning.

Brock Green's double in the seventh inning scored Ben Harty, who also doubled, for an 11-5 lead.

The Cougars came back with a run in the eighth on Aaron Baumann's double. Heat side-armer Heath Wyatt struck out Slade Brown and Mike Olsen with runners on first and second to end that threat.

K.C. Pfister's single in the eighth drove in Kimble with his fourth run of the game.