PARSONS - Seeded fourth in Parsons last Thursday, the Columbus Titans baseball team edged past favored Galena Bulldogs 3-2 in the opening round to advance to the championship game. Columbus entered the Class 4A Division II regional 7-10, and Galena 15-4.
In the Titan-Bulldog game neither team scored in the opening inning. Columbus drew first blood with a double by Ridge Smith, and scored on Grayson Walden’s sacrifice fly. With two outs in the third inning, Zach Porter had a base hit beyond second base, as did Alec Young, but both were stranded. In the fourth inning Smith started with a base on balls. Sam Eddington advanced the runner on a safe bunt. Walden hit another sacrifice fly scoring Smith. On an infield sacrifice Tommy Shallenburger brought in Eddington for a Titan 3-0 lead.
The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard in the sixth inning. J.C. Shelton started with a base hit. Trevor Little doubled in Shelton. Cooper Lawson brought in Little with his own double to be down 3-2. In the top of the seventh Jared Graham was stranded after his base hit. With two outs, and down by one, Michael Helton put the trying run at first with his base hit. Helton was left on, and the #4 seed advanced.
In the second game of the evening it was #2 Baxter Springs (11-9) and #3 Parsons (11-9). The Viking went 1-2-3 to start the game. The Lions got on the scoreboard with a run after Landon Abbott was hit by a pitch, and stole second. He came in on freshman Riley Bush’s base hit.
Parsons took a 3-1 lead in the second. Luke Wolgamont and Joel Scibi started with walks. With Conner Eichinger batting a missed ball at first base went to the fence scoring Wolgamont and Scibi. Eichinger later scored. The Lions tied the game at three in the third. Brant Trease got on after being hit by a pitch, and was sacrificed to second by Abbott. Trease went to third on a pass ball. On a fielder’s choice bunt by Caleb Arnall went to first base after the Vikings made a play at home. The ball got away from the catcher, and Trease was safe. Bush brought in Arnall on another base hit.
In the fourth the Vikings stranded two runners after a walk, and a single by Eichinger. The Lions went 1-2-3 in the inning. In the fifth the Vikings Ezekial Lyons was stranded after his base hit. Abbott started the Lions inning with his single, and stole second. Courtesy runner Landon Newton replaced pitcher Abbot at second. With two outs Vance Asquith singled, but Newton was tagged out at home.
The Vikings took a 4-3 lead in the sixth. Wolgamont received first base after being hit by a pitch. Etchinger laid down a sacrifice bunt for the second out to move Wolgamont to second. Nolan Proel plated Etchinger with his single. With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, the Lions Pierce Stolte batted for BlakeThiessen and drew a walk, and went to second on Zach Beeler’s base hit. At second Thiessen reentered to run. Trease was hit by a pitch to load the bases, a 4-3 ground out ended the inning. Parsons stranded the bases loaded in the seventh. With two outs Asquith ended his high school career with a double, but was left on base for the 4-3 Parsons win.
Columbus was winless last year. Now with eight wins for the season they were now playing for a trip to state in the regional championship game. A great achievement for head coach Mick Tedlock, and his top assistant Willie Watt.
Each team scored four runs in the first inning. The titans Graham started with a base hit, and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Porter. Young reached on a E-5 error, and Graham moved to third. Saporito walked to load the bases. Smith cleared the bases with his double. Smith later scored on Walden’s single.
Parsons scored their four runs with the first five batters with no outs. Lyons led off with a walk, and stole second. Larson hit a single, and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Jaden Ponce walked to load the bases. Wolgamont picked up two RBI’s with his base hit. Scibi rapped a double bringing in Ponce, and Eichinger hit a 5-3 sacrifice to plate Scibi.
The score remained tied at four until the third inning. Columbus took a temporary lead with two runs. Young started with a single, and courtesy runner Matt Robinett came in to run and stole second. Smith walked. A wild pitch moved the runners. A 4-3 sacrifice brought in Young, and Smith scored on single by Walden.
Parsons came back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Wolgamont got on with a single. With Scibi batting with a second base error the ball went to centerfield. On the ensuing throw as Wolgaamont was going to third he was hit with the ball on the throw, and was awarded home, and Scibi was awarded third. A balk brought in Scibi.
Columbus went to eight runs in the fourth. Porter singled, Young walked, followed by a single by Saporito. A double by Smith brought in Porter and Saporito, but he was called out at home for being out of the baseline. Smith scored when Eddington reached on a second base error.
Columbus took a 9-6 lead in their fifth. Shallenberger started with a double, and stole second. He was scored on a 5-3 sacrifice by Saylor Stanley. The Vikings added their seventh run in their fifth. Wolgamont walked and was scored on Etchinger’s double.
The Titans took another two run lead into the seventh. Stanley singled but was left on base. The Vikings took advantage of three straight errors in their bottom half of the seventh to tie the game. Wolgamont reached on an E-7 error, and ended up on second. With Etchinger batting an E-8 error put Scibi on. An E-4 error brought in Wolgamont. The Vikings had a chance to end the game, but Etchinger was thrown out at home.
In the extra eighth inning, with two outs, Smith hit a double after an attempted shoestring catch by the right fielder. Walden hit the go-ahead run in with a single, then was tagged out at second stretching for a double. They still had a 10-9 lead.
Lyons started the Vikings with a F-7 fly out. Larson singled pass second base. Ponce laid down a bunt, and Larson was forced out at second. Columbus now was one out for a trip to the state tournament. Wolgamont reached on an infield hit. Scibi hit to the fence for a triple bringing in Wolgamont to tie the game 10-10. A grounder through the legs of the Titan shortstop won the game for the Vikings.
Parsons now with a 13-9 record drew a #7 seed to face #2 seed Pratt (20-2). A first pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. this Thursday in Salina.