Frontenac junior pitcher Brett Macary threw a complete game shutout gem, the Raiders took advantage of Girard errors and used strong baserunning to break open a scoreless game early on and the defending Class 3A state champions moved into the semifinals of their Class 4A regional with a 7-0 first-round win Monday night at the Raider Sports Complex.
“Brett threw a very good game,” Frontenac head coach Bill Sullivan said. “He’s been sharp all year and we felt confident throwing him tonight.”
Frontenac (19-0) will now take on returning 4A state qualifier Pittsburg (10-11) in the 2 p.m. semifinal game Wednesday in Altamont. Columbus and Coffeyville will meet in the other semifinal — Columbus defeated No. 2 seed Labette County 3-1 on its home field and Coffeyville outlasted Independence 2-1 in 12 innings.
In the nightcap Monday night, the central portion of the game was the bottom of the second and the top of the third.
Frontenac scored three runs in the second and Girard left the bases loaded in the third.
The second was a wild one — Blake Barto and Ross Edge both reached on errors and Sullivan turned a darker shade of red down the third-base line when Edge and Christian Sharp went 0-for-4 on executing sacrifices. Gus Brunetti reached on an infield single, as his roller up the first-base line just stayed fair to load the bases.
Bryce Burdette drove in Barto on a sacrifice fly for the game’s first run. With two runners on and two down, Bryan Wade reached on a fielding error which scored Edge and then a throwing error on the same play scored a hustling Brunetti. Girard catcher Tucker Johnston stood helpless around home plate as the ball got lost in a cloud of dust and Brunetti sprinted home for a 3-0 lead.
“We didn’t execute well in those (bunting) situations,” Sullivan said. “It’s something we’ll address (Tuesday) in practice. We did take advantage of their mistakes because I thought Nick George threw an outstanding game. He did a great job of keeping us off-balance and we were very fortunate to get those runs.”
In the third, Girard loaded the bases with its three seniors — Nate George, Cody Grilz and Nick George. Macary buckled down and struck out Tyler Green to subdue the scoring threat.
Macary allowed his no runs on five hits and one Frontenac error, striking out nine. Johnston seemed to have Macary’s number, a 3-for-3 with all three hits singles but other than that, it was mostly smooth sailing for Macary.
Frontenac added one in the fifth and three in the sixth — with RBI singles from seniors Matt Standlee, Brunetti, Burdette and Blake Vail.
Pittsburg 7, Baxter Springs 3
The Purple Dragons and the Lions met in the 4A regional final last season at JayCee Ballpark and the teams from baseball-loving towns met Monday to earn a spot in the semifinals on Wednesday.
Page 2 of 3 - Sophomore pitcher Dante Richardson played a pivotal role in the win, tossing a complete game and going 1-for-2 at the plate with a RBI triple, a walk, two stolen bases and one run scored. His triple in the first plated senior Todd Keller for the second Dragon run and he worked his way around to score the seventh Dragon run in the fifth.
Richardson tired in the seventh and Baxter Springs designated hitter Knanor Carlton broke up the shutout with a RBI single and two additional runs scored on a Pittsburg error.
"Dante was fantastic tonight," Pittsburg head coach Keith Matlock said. "It started with the Labette County game last week and carried into tonight. He started throwing strikes early and filling it up and competing. He did a good job of keeping his pitch count down early on and pitching his way out of a couple jams, especially with the bases loaded (in the third)."
Richardson allowed three runs on five hits and two errors, striking out six and walking five (including three in the seventh as he tired).
Senior shortstop Nick Vacca hit a two-run single in the fourth and doubled in the sixth only to be stranded in scoring position. Vacca reached on an error in the third and scored on a Drake Markley sacrifice fly.
Defensively, Pittsburg kept its errors relatively down. Matlock said the defense's confidence increased over the course of the regular season and what helped Monday night was a 1-2-3 bottom of the first with clean fielding by center fielder Spencer Bernhardt, second baseman Dylan Crozier and Vacca, all seniors.
Meanwhile, Baxter Springs was plagued by five errors and the four innings Pittsburg scored runs were all marked by Baxter miscues — two Pittsburg runs in the first, two in the third, two in the fourth and one in the fifth.
Pittsburg improved to 10-11 and eliminated Baxter for the second consecutive year.
Girard 7, Parsons 3
In the postseason, it's all about staying alive and Girard took advantage of nine Parsons errors during the play-in game, setting up its Monday night showdown with top seed and undefeated Frontenac.
The Trojans plated six runs in the first three innings, two each frame, and the Vikings made eight of their nine miscues in the first two, four in each inning. Girard freshman first baseman Tyler Green picked up a two-run single, good for the third and fourth Girard runs on its first hit of the afternoon.
Cody Grilz added an RBI single in the third and Teddy Paoni a RBI single in the sixth after Parsons reliever Tyler Drisdell silenced Girard in the fourth and the fifth, his first two full innings.
Meanwhile, offensively for the Vikings, senior second baseman Craig Beachner fell a home run shy of the cycle during his 3-for-4 performance. Beachner reached on a two-base error in the fifth and scored two of the Vikings' three runs.
Page 3 of 3 - Grilz struck out the side in the second and the fourth, ending the contest with 11.
The fourth was highlighted by all strikeouts, three by Grilz and three by Drisdell.
Parsons ended its season 1-16.
Class 4A Regional Baseball
at Raider Sports Complex, Frontenac
Frontenac 7, Girard 0
GIR 000 000 0 — 0 5 5
FRON 030 013 X — 7 10 1
Nick George, Jordan Baker (6) and Tucker Johnston. Brett Macary and Bryan Wade. WP: Macary. LP: George. E: Tyler Green 2, Brandon Walker, Cody Grilz, Garrett Bailey; Ross Edge. SF: Bryce Burdette. SB: Macary, Matt Standlee, Burdette. CS: Macary. HBP: George. LOB: GIR 5, FRO 8.
Pittsburg 7, Baxter Springs 3
BAX 000 000 3 — 3 5 5
PHS 202 210 X — 7 6 2
Zack Miller, Craig Karnes (6) and Trey Price. Dante Richardson and Patrick Biggs. WP: Richardson. LP: Miller. E: Dallas Hutcherson 3, Nick Abernathy, Craig Karnes; Nick Vacca, James Clark. 2B: Vacca. 3B: Richardson. SB: Spencer Bernhardt 3, Richardson 2, Tanner Ellis, Ryan McNeely. LOB: BAX 7, PHS 6.
Girard 7, Parsons 3
PAR 101 010 0 — 3 7 9
GIR 222 001 X — 7 5 2
Sam Vratil, Tyler Drisdell (3) and Keenan Dodd. Cody Grilz, Jordan Baker (7) and Tucker Johnston. WP: Grilz. LP: Vratil. E: Tyus Brown 3, Drisdell 2, Vratil 2, Chris Ponce, Craig Beachner; Grilz, Tanner Stout. 2B: Beachner. 3B: Beachner. SH: Drisdell, Dusty Dishman; Teddy Paoni. SB: Nate George 2, Grilz, Garrett Bailey. CS: Stout. HBP: Nick George 2. LOB: PAR 8, GIR 10.