It's not often teams sweep Johnson County in a doubleheader. The third-place Cavaliers (13-7 East, 22-10 overall) had not been swept in their last 26 twinbills prior to Saturday, when they Greyhounds (11-9, 23-12) won by scores of 2-1 and 6-4 at Lions Field. They had avoided being swept in 20 of their previous 21 conference doubleheaders going back to 2009.
Fort Scott also won the first game of Sunday's doubleheader 17-2, scoring 7 times in the bottom of the first inning. Johnson County won Sunday's second game, 9-3.
"We've blown five last-inning leads," Fort Scott head coach John Hill III said. "Taking three of four from (Johnson) doesn't make up for that. Winning three out of four is big. It's just that right now, it's not any bigger that it's Johnson County or any other team."
The Greyhounds host division leader Cowley this weekend. Playing well against them while hoping some of the leaders slip will help as Fort Scott tries to get itself into a position where it can host a Sub-Regional tournament or be seeded in one so that it doesn't have to take a long trip out west.
"We need to come out and do the same thing we did this weekend," Hill said. "We've dug ourselves kind of a hole by losing those leads. Obviously, we can play with anyone."
At the moment, Fort Scott is tied for fifth place in the East with Coffeyville (16-17 overall) and Labette (14-11). Allen County and Highland (4-16 East) are tied for eighth, 7 games behind.
Saturday's opener was won with perfect offensive execution. The game was tied 1-1 going into the bottom of the seventh. Designated hitter Ryan Sorell doubled to center to lead off the inning. Jordan Still bunted pinch runner Beau Phillips over on a 2-strike pitch. Leadoff batter Stuart Jeck pulled off the squeeze bunt that Cavalier pitcher Ryan Kendall -- who had just come into the game -- could not field cleanly to give the 'Hounds the victory.
Fort Scott had 7 hits in the game, 2 each from Sorell, Corey Stringer and Gavin Stark. Stark had the game's other run batted in on a third-inning sacrifice fly, which plated Jeck.
Johnson County tied the score in the top of the fourth but had only 4 hits off Hays sophomore Jesse Hart, who didn't walk anyone while striking out four in a complete-game effort.
Cody Schumacher was the hard-luck losing pitcher for Johnson County as the winning run was his responsibility. He allowed 1 earned run in 6 1/3 innings, walking 2 and striking out 6.
Fort Scott scored 4 runs in the bottom of the second inning of the second game but Johnson County got 2 in the third and 2 in the fourth to tie it.
The 'Hounds went ahead for good in the bottom of the fourth. Jeck drew a leadoff walk and an errant pickoff allowed him to advance all the way to third, from where he scored on Austin Williams' grounder to short.
An insurance run went up in the bottom of the eighth -- the second game of all conference doubleheaders are scheduled for nine innings -- when Williams' sacrifice fly brought in Phillips, who was again running for Sorrell, who led off the inning with a walk.
Fort Scott again had 7 hits, 2 from Stark. Williams drove in 3 runs and Jeck knocked in 2.
Tim Koons was the winning pitcher in relief, allowing 4 hits and 1 walk in four innings of work while striking out 5. Will Kilpatrick struck out 1 in a perfect ninth to earn the save.
Sunday's opener lasted only five innings as the 'Hounds forced Johnson County to use three pitchers in the first three innings.
The 7-run first began with a Jeck walk. He stole second then came home on Stringer's one-out single. Stark drew a walk and Josh Samuelson singled to short to load the bases.
Jake Parsons singled down the first-base line to bring in Stringer. Dylan Banach was hit by a pitch, which forced Stark home. Sorrell walked to bring in Samuelson.
Stull grounded to the pitcher and Parsons was thrown out at home but the bases remained loaded. Jeck singled up the middle and Johnson County's center fielder misplayed the ball, which allowed all three runners to score.
Fort Scott's batters took advantage of their home park on a very windy day as fly balls got caught in the air and floated away from fielders. Two more runs went up in the second to make it 9-0. Four were posted in the third and the fourth.
Stringer went 4 for 4, driving in 3 and scoring 4 times. Two of his hits were doubles. Parsons was 3 for 4 and drove in 6 runs, 3 on a third-inning double. Jeck was 2 for 3, driving in 2. Stark scored 3 runs.
Omaha freshman Brett Swain allowed no earned runs on 5 hits and 4 walks with 4 strikeouts as he went the distance in the shortened game.
Perhaps just to show how difficult it is to beat a team four straight times, Johnson County broke a 3-3 tie in the series finale with 3 runs in the top of the seventh and 3 in the top of the eighth.
Fort Scott took the lead in the first as Parsons drove in Williams with a single. The Cavaliers scored 2 in the top of the fourth but Banach's double in the bottom of the inning brought Samuelson home to tie the score.
Each team scored once in the sixth. Parsons drove in his eighth run of the day when he managed to reach on an error at second base, allowing Stark to score. Stark got on base via a wind-assisted 150-foot double to right field.
Stringer was the only 'Hound with 2 hits in the second game. Wes Torrez went the distance for Johnson County, allowing 7 hits and 4 walks while striking out 3.
The Greyhounds will get in some non-conference action on Wednesday as Southeast Nebraska will come to town. The teams were originally scheduled to face each other in early February but had to postpone due to bad weather. Play is set to begin at 2 p.m.
Johnson County.............. 000 100 0 -- 1 4 1
Fort Scott.................. 001 000 1 -- 2 7 0
One out when winning run scored.
WP -- Hart. LP -- Schumacher.
HR -- None.
Johnson County.......... 002 200 000 -- 4 8 5
Fort Scott.............. 040 100 01x -- 6 7 1
WP -- Koons. LP -- Moore. Sv. -- Kilpatrick.
HR -- None.
Johnson County.............. 101 00x x -- 2 5 3
Fort Scott.................. 724 4xx x -- 17 13 2
WP -- Swain. LP -- Soptic.
HR -- None.
Johnson County.......... 000 201 330 -- 9 16 1
Fort Scott.............. 100 101 000 -- 3 7 4
WP -- Torrez. LP -- Scott.
HR -- None.