PITTSBURG — Pittsburg High School starter Alex Kafka handed the ball over to Dylan White out of the bullpen in the sixth inning after throwing four no-hit innings which lifted the Purple Dragons to a 6-4 win over Heritage on Thursday at Jaycee Ballpark.
Kafka recorded the first two outs of the fifth inning before the War Eagles broke through for their first hit of the contest, but kept the lead in tact with help from White, who stranded two runners in the seventh to close out the win.
“Alex was great all day,” PHS head coach Keith Matlock said. “He threw a lot of strikes, which meant he was working ahead of hitters and throwing your pitches. In the last inning, he elevated a couple pitches and they got to him a little bit their third time through. I know he wanted to finish it, and we wanted him to, but they were coming back to their leadoff hitter for the fourth time and we just wanted to go to Dylan and give them a different look. We’re looking to build off starts and this was Alex’ best start of the season.”
During Kafka’s four no-hit innings, the Purple Dragons mounted a four-run lead, which included an RBI double by Trent Austin in the opening frame.
PHS went on to add a run in the third inning, when Chase Curtis crossed the plate during a pickle play, and tallied two in the fourth after Dalton Gromer and Tye Cicero scored on a defensive miscue.
Gromer came around to score again in the fifth inning while a teammate was being chased down in between bags to push the lead to 5-0.
The Eagles came through for their first run of the game in the sixth frame, but the Purple Dragons got it right back in the bottom half on the strength of an RBI single by Curtis.
Heritage began rallying back in the sixth with three runs scored and the potential tying run on base, but White came in to record the final two outs of the inning to earn the save.
ON THE BUMP
Kafka earned the win with three strikeouts and recorded 10 consecutive outs to start the day.
AT THE DISH
Curtis and Cicero each ended the day with a pair of hits and a run scored, while teammates Butcher, Austin, Ben Boekhout, Brett Wiemers and Jhalani Long each combined for the Purple Dragons’ other seven hits.
PHS will host Willard at 2 p.m. on Saturday.