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Morning Sun
  • Pittsburg baseball advances to Regional Final

  • With solid defense and timely hitting behind them Monday night at JayCee Ballpark, Pittsburg seniors Joe Wimmer and Broc Bennett pitched the Purple Dragons into a regional final game on Wednesday, one win away from a berth in the Class 4A state tournament.

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  • With solid defense and timely hitting behind them Monday night at JayCee Ballpark, Pittsburg seniors Joe Wimmer and Broc Bennett pitched the Purple Dragons into a regional final game on Wednesday, one win away from a berth in the Class 4A state tournament.
    “The name of the game’s pitching in baseball,” Pittsburg head coach Mike Wilbert said. “There’s just no doubt about it. Joe Wimmer threw a good game. His arm was giving him a little bit of trouble there at the last but he did a nice job. Today Broc’s curveball was spot-on. His curveball was his money pitch and he could throw it for a strike any time he wanted to and when you can do that in high school baseball, you really keep the hitters off-balance. He did a great job.”
    Just last week against Labette County at JayCee Ballpark, Bennett pitched a complete game shutout — no runs on five hits in five innings and he struck out 11 Grizzly hitters, including the side during the second and fourth innings.
    On Monday, in the regional semifinal round, Bennett allowed no runs on four Labette County hits and no Pittsburg errors over seven innings pitched. Bennett might not have been as overpowering as last Tuesday but he struck out eight, walked one and faced the minimum in four of seven innings. He faced 25, four over the minimum.
    Pittsburg scored one in the first, one in the second, one in the fourth, one in the fifth and simply let its pitching and defense handle the rest.
    “In the second ballgame, they’re a nice ballclub and they’re going to make you earn everything you get,” Wilbert said. “We put one up in four different innings so we did what we had to do.”
    With two outs in the first, Pittsburg struck with consecutive singles by Nick Vacca and Brandon Baker. Vacca stole second during Baker’s at-bat and sprinted home on Baker’s single to center.
    Anthony McNeely reached on a two-base error leading off the second, then stole third and later scored on a Joe Wimmer infield single.
    Bennett reached on another Labette County error in the fourth and courtesy runner Cole Angermayer would later score on a Tanner Ellis single.
    Spencer Bernhardt led off the fifth with a single, stole second and then scored on a two-out RBI single by catcher Dylan Gromer.
    Pittsburg (15-5) faces Baxter Springs on Wednesday at JayCee Ballpark. Baxter Springs defeated Girard 5-4 in a semifinal game at Al Ortolani Field. The winner advances on to play in the state baseball tournament.
    “We got some timely hitting, great pitching and our defense is vastly improved,” Wilbert said. “Consequently, we gave ourselves a chance. I know it will be tough on Wednesday no matter who we play. It doesn’t make any difference. We have to come out ready to play. We’re just happy to have the opportunity and happy to still be playing.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Pittsburg 7, Columbus 2
    Just last Thursday, Pittsburg swept Columbus 18-1 and 12-2 and clinched a three-way share of the Southeast Kansas League title with Independence and Iola. Less than a week later, Pittsburg and Columbus met again in a regional game Monday afternoon at JayCee Ballpark.
    Columbus went ahead 2-0 in the second, taking advantage of a Pittsburg error and back-to-back singles by Trevor McLaughlin and C.J. Freeman.
    However, Pittsburg answered with two runs in the bottom of the second. With two outs, Pittsburg once again did its damage — Todd Keller singled, Ellis was hit by a pitch, Wimmer reached on an infield single to load the bases and Bernhardt plated Keller and Ellis with a single.
    McNeely and Keller singled home runs in the third, Baker singled in another in the fourth, and Vacca and Baker drove in runs in the sixth.
    “We had some timely hitting,” Wilbert said. “We had 13 hits in the first game in six innings so I felt like we hit the ball pretty well and we put a couple decent numbers up.”
    Bernhardt went 3-for-4 with two RBI, Wimmer 3-4, Keller 2-3 and Baker 2-4 with three RBI.
    Columbus ends its season 4-16 and plays next year in the Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League. Labette County finishes 10-12 and Chanute 9-12.
    Class 4A Semifinal
    Pittsburg baseball 4, Labette County 0
    LCHS    000 000 0 — 0 4 3
    PHS    110 110 X — 4 6 0
    Klay Weaver and Corey Cosby. Broc Bennett and Dylan Gromer. WP: Bennett. LP: Weaver. 2B: Weaver. SB: Nick Vacca, Anthony McNeely, Spencer Bernhardt. CS: Joseph Reeves. LOB: LCHS 4, PHS 5.
    Quarterfinals
    Pittsburg 7, Columbus 2
    COL    020 000 0 — 2  5  0
    PHS    022 102 X — 7 13 2
    Travis Jones and Kendal Hale. Joe Wimmer and Dylan Gromer. WP: Wimmer. LP: Jones. 2B: Todd Keller. SB: Wimmer 2, Brandon Baker, Spencer Bernhardt. SF: Gromer. HBP: Tanner Ellis. LOB: COL 4, PHS 8.
    Quarterfinals
    Labette County 5, Chanute 1
    CHAN    000 100 0 — 1 2 0
    LCHS    000 500 X — 5 6 2
    WP: Tyler Burris. LP: Christian Wiltse.
    Semifinal
    Baxter Springs 5, Girard 4
    Quarterfinals
    Baxter Springs 10, Parsons 0
    Girard 8, Coffeyville 1

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