WICHITA — Cheney Diamond Dawg pitcher Bradley Demco stayed on the mound a long time, but was effective in a 5-3 win in 10 innings over the Great Bend Bat Cats Friday night in a Championship Week qualifying game of the National Baseball Congress World Series at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
In 5 1-3 innings of relief, Demco allowed no runs on three hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. Two of those hits were infield grounders in the bottom of the 10th.
“I was getting ahead with the fast ball, able to locate my off-speed when I needed it,” said Demco, who plays for Sam Houston State. “The defense behind me was there. This was great. The crowd was phenomenal. To be able to play in week two was great.”
Cheney trailed early, tying the game in the top of the seventh. A pair of wild pitches in the top of the 10th held up for the winning runs.
“That’s a good team,” Cheney manager Pat Hon said. “I don’t know how they did all year, but they played an amazing four games here. We hit the ball and caught the ball real well.”
Great Bend, a first year team out of the Jayhawk League, finished the tournament 3-1.
Both teams were making more circus catches than Barnum and Bailey in the early innings.
With two outs and two runners on in the bottom of the fifth, Benjamin Sems and Corrigan Bartlett each had an RBI hit to put the Bat Cats ahead. A run scored on a wild pitch.
“The first pitch I had went to the backstop,” Demco said. “I just had to keep my composure and throw strikes.”
Cheney’s Dallas Reed drove in a run with a single in the top of the sixth. With bases loaded and one out in the top of the seventh, Quentin Crandall drew a walk. After a strikeout, Tresten Kennard walked to tie the game.
With bases loaded, two outs and a two-strike count, in the top of the 10th, Cheney scored on a wild pitch. The next pitch also went wild, giving the Diamond Dawgs a two-run lead.
Cheney will open Championship Week pool play Sunday against either the San Diego Waves or Seattle Studs.
“I’ve gone straight to Championship Week and I’ve played in the first week,” Hon said. “When you go straight to Championship Week, you can’t simulate real baseball. You can’t have that same, in-game, on-the-line atmosphere. The down side of it is you’ve gotten tired. It’s 50-50.”
In the second qualifying game, the Mulvane Patriots scored four runs in the top of the ninth to top the Austin Shockers 5-1.
Patriots pitcher Ryan Erickson went nine innings for a one-hit win, allowing five walks and 10 strikeouts. The only run against him was unearned.
Dalton Dinkel went two for five hitting for Mulvane with three RBIs. Tyler Sutherland went two for three. Caleb Cox and Javis Larson each went two for four.
Patrick Castillo had Austin’s sole hit and RBI.
Logan Garza took the loss for Austin in relief of Colton Bailey.
Austin scored in the bottom of the fourth inning on an error. Mulvane came back in the top of the fifth on a Dinkel RBI single with two outs.
With bases loaded and two outs in the top of the ninth, Mulvane’s Channing Williams stole home to break the tie. Dinkel followed with a two-run double just beyond the reach of the outfielders. Sullivan drove in Dinkel with a single.
Austin put two runners on base in the bottom of the ninth, but left them stranded.
Austin ends its NBC run 3-1.
Mulvane plays in Championship Week Sunday.
Championship week play begins at 10:30 a.m. today.