WICHITA — The Kansas Stars, a group of former Major Leaguers, clinched a spot in the quarterfinals of the 83rd National Baseball Congress World Series after a 10-1 win over the Everett Merchants Monday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
The game was called after seven innings on the eight-run rule.
Former Dodger, Pirate, Athletic and Blue Jay Andy LaRoche and former Tiger, Athletic and Pirate Brandon Inge each had three RBIs. Inge didn’t have a hit in the game.
Former Blue Jay and Phillie Roy Halladay went four innings for the win, allowing one hit, a walk and five strikeouts in four innings. Former Brewer, Athletic and Brave Ben Sheets went two innings, allowing an unearned run on a hit with a walk and three strikeouts. Former Ranger and Yankee Brian Gordon finished the game.
“The best thing about this is I didn’t have to play behind (Halladay),” said Jack Wilson, who finished two for five for the Stars. “It was fun to watch him pitch. He didn’t have the velocity, but he knows how to pitch. That’s the advantage these guys have. He was so smart on the mound. He was able to put the ball all over the place. Those are very tough at bats, especially for college players.”
Wilson was a shortstop for the Pirates, Mariners and Braves who retired after the 2012 season.
“It’s one of those things. We have to work pretty hard for the last month to get ready for this thing,” Wilson said. “There is a lot of stretching, a lot of running and taking a lot of ground balls. That’s to give these guys the defense for these guys. You really don’t want to look like an idiot. These guys are throwing pretty hard, so any hit out there is a bonus.
The game was televised on ESPN2, something Wilson said didn’t always happen in his career.
“I got all my high school kids at home that I coach and my travel team watching me,” Wilson said. “I going to get a lot of texts after the game, so it will work out. I was thinking about it today. When I was at Pittsburgh, I didn’t get a lot of ESPN games. This was one of the few times, I got a national audience.”
Wilson said his biggest thrill of the tournament was talking to the college players while on base and between innings.
“We love coming here and to compete,” Wilson said. “But we also love these kids and want to help them along.”
The Stars’ Andy LaRoche sent a ball over the left field wall for a three-run homer in the top of the first. With bases loaded and two outs in the second, Inge was hit by a pitch to drive in a run.
With bases loaded and one out in the top of the sixth inning, Inge grounded into a fielder’s choice to score a run. Another run came home on a wild pitch.
In the bottom of the sixth, Everett’s Ty Holm singled, went to second after a walk, stole third and came home on an error.
The Stars loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the seventh. After a pair of pop outs, Jack Wilson grounded into a two-run error. Inge drove in a run on a walk. An error led to another run.
Holm, a graduate of Concordia-Irvine, had both Everett hits.
Starter Phil Trujillo of New Mexico Highlands took the loss for the Merchants. Everett used five pitchers.
The Stars play Liberal Wednesday, while Everett will face the Colorado Cyclones.
The Cyclones downed the Liberal Bee Jays 3-1.
Colorado scored in the top of the second via a walk, a passed ball and two ground outs. The Bee Jays scored in the bottom of the second on a Kyle Schmidt sacrifice fly. A hit batter and a Matt Burkart double led to a Cyclone run in the top of the third inning.
Peter Scherer hit an RBI single for the Cyclones in the top of the ninth.
Braxton Lorenzini went five innings for the Cyclones for the win, allowing a run on two hits with four walks and four strikeouts. Dalton Lewis pitched two innings for the save, allowing three hits with a strikeout.
Zach Austin took the loss for Liberal, 0-2, allowing one earned run on three hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Joe Corbett finished the game, allowing two hits with five strikeouts.
Garrett Scott went three for five for Liberal. Schmidt went two for three. Burkart went two for three for Colorado.
In Monday’s opening game, Cooper Minnick hit an RBI single and Bobby Morgenson drove in a run on a groundout in the top of the 10th inning to lift the Derby Twins to a 6-4 win over the Colorado Sox, the third extra-inning game of the tournament.
Draven Adame drove in a run on a ground out for the Sox in the second inning.
Derby came up with three runs in the top of the seventh as Conner Basler hit an RBI single and Bret Fehr had an RBI double. Derby also scored on an error.
Ty Lightley hit an RBI single for the Sox in the bottom of the seventh. Zac Baldini and Trevor Howard each drove in a run for Colorado in the bottom of the eighth.
Fehr doubled in a run in the top of the ninth to force extra innings.
Derby starter Gabe Constantine allowed a run on two hits with five walks and four strikeouts through six innings. Tyler Myers threw 2 2-3 scoreless innings for the win, giving up three hits.
Sox starter Mike Thill went 6 2-3 innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Eli Thornquist took the loss.
Fehr finished two for five with two RBIs for the Twins. Minnick went three for five with an RBI.
Dauson Tate went two for four for Colorado, 0-2.
Derby improves to 1-1 in pool play.
In the late game, the Santa Barbara Foresters improves to 2-0 with a 4-0 win over the San Diego Force.
Santa Barbara starter Blair Henley went seven innings to claim the win, allowing three hits, a walk and seven strikeouts. Three other pitchers finished the game to preserve the shutout.
Force starter Skylar Sylvester went five innings in the loss, allowing seven hits and four runs. Two other pitchers finished the game.
Evan Lee hit an RBI single in the bottom of the first for the Forresters. In the bottom of the third, Luke Ritter hit a sacrifice fly, followed by a two-run homer for David Clawson.
Joshua Jung went two for three hitting to lead the Foresters. Tanner Pinkston went two for four for the Force, 1-1.