Morning Sun
  • Pittsburg baseball routs Columbus, shares SEK title

  •  The Pittsburg baseball team clinched a share of the Southeast Kansas League title Thursday night with 18-1 and 12-2 wins over Columbus.

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  •  The Pittsburg baseball team clinched a share of the Southeast Kansas League title Thursday night with 18-1 and 12-2 wins over Columbus.
    Pittsburg scored 30 runs on 35 hits over a doubleheader with all 12 players who batted in Game 1 recording a hit — including seniors Zach Baden and Cole Angermayer — and several players had multiple-hit games on the night, including six in the first game. Brandon Baker hit 5-for-7, Broc Bennett 5-6, Tanner Ellis 5-6, Anthony McNeely 4-6 and Todd Keller 3-5 over two games.
    “We hit the ball extremely well,” Pittsburg head coach Mike Wilbert said. “We played hard and the guys really wanted that league championship. I’m extremely proud of their effort in doubleheaders against Independence, Labette County and Columbus that we needed to sweep to clinch a share.
    “We play Columbus again on Monday and we have to continue to hit the ball extremely well, our pitchers have to continue to throw strikes and our defense has improved so much over the course of the season. I feel like we’re peaking at the right time. We’ve won 11 of the last 13 games.”
    Pittsburg scored eight runs on six hits in the third and seven runs on nine hits in the fourth of the first game. McNeely, Baker and Keller hit back-to-back RBI singles in the third and then Joe Wimmer knocked a bases-clearing three-run double. Wimmer later scored on a Spencer Bernhardt single.
    On the mound, in his first start this season, McNeely allowed one run on two Columbus hits, its only extra-base hit a double by senior Colten Stanley. Wilbert said that McNeely did a great job pitching Thursday night.
    Bennett enjoyed a memorable night in the second game.
    On the mound, he picked up his second complete-game victory in three days, coming after his 11-strikeout shutout against Labette County on Tuesday night. He surrendered Columbus runs in the third and fourth innings.
    Meanwhile, at the plate, Bennett supported himself with his bat. In the second, Bennett doubled in McNeely and smashed a two-run homer in the sixth to help edge Pittsburg toward a run-rule victory.
    Pittsburg and Independence have already clinched their share of the SEK, both teams finishing 12-4 in league play. Pittsburg won four games this week, sweeping Labette County on Tuesday and Columbus on Thursday, and Independence swept Parsons on Tuesday.
    Iola plays a doubleheader against Columbus today on the last day of the regular season and if the Mustangs can sweep the Titans in a battle of teams leaving the SEK, Iola joins Independence and Pittsburg in a three-way tie for the SEK grand prize.
    Pittsburg (13-5) hosts Columbus (4-13) on Monday at JayCee Ballpark.
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