’Hounds need some breaks to get home series
Fort Scott Community College’s baseball team needs several things to go their way this week if it’s going to have home-field advantage in the first round of the Region VI Tournament.
The top four teams in each division play host to a best-of-three series. After splitting with No. 13-ranked Johnson County Sunday at Lions Field, the Greyhounds are two games behind Neosho County for fourth place in the Jayhawk Conference-Eastern Division with the Panthers holding the tie-breaker.
The Greyhounds (18-14 East, 32-18 overall) fell in game one to Johnson County by a 9-3 score but won the nightcap, 3-2. The Cavaliers (25-7, 40-10) lead Cowley (24-8, 34-15) by one game in the fight for the division title.
Fort Scott faces Cowley later this week in the final series of the regular season. The Greyhounds play in Arkansas City on Thursday then come back home to face the Tigers on Saturday. Meanwhile, Neosho County faces eighth-place Labette (10-20, 16-25) at home Thursday and in Parsons on Saturday.
In order to finish fourth, the Greyhounds have to finish a game ahead of Neosho County, which won the season series with Fort Scott, 3-1. Kansas City (21-11, 33-17) is in third place and also defeated Fort Scott, 3-1, in the season series. KCK is paired with Johnson County this weekend, playing at home Thursday and at Overland Park Saturday.
Three weekends ago, Fort Scott faced off with Allen for first place in the division. The Greyhounds won three of the four games but both teams have been in a tailspin ever since. Fort Scott has won only three of 12 conference games since then. Allen (14-18, 28-21), which is now in sixth place has lost 11 of 12 in conference play since that weekend and their last nine in a row.
Fort Scott didn’t score until the fifth inning of Saturday’s opening game, with Brandon Krennrich hitting a leadoff double, moving up on a groundout and scoring on a wild pitch to tie the game at 1-1. Mitch Sloan gave the Greyhounds the lead in the sixth with a 2-out solo home run.
Connor Schumacher tied the score at 2-2 for Johnson County when he belted a 2-out solo homer in the top of the seventh. The Cavaliers scored 4 in the top of the eighth while Fort Scott was only able to get one back in the bottom of the inning.
Sloan and Will Baker had 2 hits each for the Greyhounds. Starting pitcher Boby Johnson allowed 2 runs on 6 hits and 4 walks while striking out 7 in the first 7 innings. Kobie Schmitt (2-2) allowed no earned runs on 4 hits in the eighth.
Every run in game two scored on a home run. In fact, Fort Scott’s homers were its only two hits of the game.
Johnson County’s Brandt Ollinger hit the first one, a solo shot with one out in the top of the second. Sean Moore was hit by a pitch in front of Quinn Waterbury’s homer in the bottom of the second. Harrison Whitworth made it 3-1 for the Greyhounds with a solo dinger in the bottom of the fifth. Maurice Bruce led off the top of the sixth with a solo homer for Johnson County.
Kyle Smith (3-2) allowed 5 hits and 4 walks while striking out 4 for Fort Scott. Johnson County’s Adam Theis (3-4) walked 2 while striking out 8.
The Greyhounds played a home non-conference doubleheader against the University of Saint Mary junior varsity on Tuesday. Those games will be summarized in Saturday’s edition.
Johnson County.......... 100 001 04 — 6 10 2
Fort Scott........................ 000 011 01 — 3 7 3
WP — Buckley (6-2). LP — Schmitt (2-2)
HR — Johnson County: Schumacher (2, 7th inn., none on, 2 out), Warkentin (14, 1st inning, none on, 2 out). Fort Scott: M.Sloan (4, 6th inn., none on, 2 out).
Johnson County............. 010 001 0 — 2 5 0
Fort Scott........................... 020 010 x — 3 2 1
WP — Smith (3-2). LP — Theis (3-4).
HR — Johnson County: Bruce (3, 6th inn., none on, none out), Ollinger (6, 2nd inn., none on, 1 out). Fort Scott: Waterbury (9, 2nd inn., 1 on, 2 out), Whitworth (1, 5th inn., none on, 1 out).
Johnson County vs. Cowley for 1st place
• Johnson County is 25-7 and plays Kansas City this weekend.
• Cowley is 24-8 and plays Fort Scott this weekend.
• Tie-breaker: Cowley won the season series 3-1.
Johnson County wins the division if: It wins the same number of games Cowley does this weekend.
Cowley wins the division if: It wins one more game than Johnson County this weekend. If the Tigers and Cavaliers finish in a tie, Cowley wins the tie-breaker.
Fort Scott vs. Neosho County and/or Kansas City for home field
• Kansas City is 21-11 and plays Johnson County this weekend.
• Neosho County is 20-12 and plays Labette this weekend.
• Fort Scott is 18-14 and plays Cowley this weekend.
• Tie-breakers: Kansas City and Neosho County each won three of four games vs. Fort Scott this season. Kansas City and Neosho County split their season series. At the moment, Kansas City holds the tie-breaker over Neosho County on the basis of a better record vs. Allen.
If all three end up tied: Kansas City would finish third and Neosho County fourth and both would have home-field advantage in a first-round Region VI Tournament series next weekend.
What Fort Scott needs to do to get home-field advantage: The Greyhounds must finish a game ahead of either Kansas City or Neosho County. With Neosho County playing eighth-place Labette (10-20), the Panthers have the easiest schedule this weekend. Fort Scott either needs to sweep Cowley and have Johnson County sweep Kansas City or take at least three of four games from Cowley and hope Labette can split with Neosho County.