By Mark Schnabel

Newton Kansan

WICHITA — The Liberal BeeJays and Valley Center Diamond Dawgs advance to Championship Week of the National Baseball Congress World Series after play-in round wins Thursday at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita.

Liberal advanced with a 7-3 win over the Cape Girardeau Burger King Capahas. Valley Center stopped the Kansas Cannons 8-2.

Liberal starter Blake Goldsberry pitched six innings for the win, allowing three runs on 10 hits with four strikeouts. Garrett Smith, Jakob Hernandez and Lee Busto finished the game, holding the Capahas to one hit with five strikeouts.

“We’re playing good defense,” Liberal manager Carlos Lexcano said. “We’re getting good at bats. Our pitchers are going deep in the game. They’re doing a good job and performing. It was nice to get four (runs) right off the bat. Their defense was a little shaky at the beginning. We needed that.”

The Liberal defense turned three double plays to kill Capaha rallies.

“Those were big,” Lexcano said. “We had trouble with those at the beginning of the year. Our shortstop (Jaron) Robison and (Marc) Mumford at second base are both athletic. That’s key.”

Liberal opened the scoring with four runs in the first inning on two hits and three errors. Cale O’Donnell hit a two-run triple. Blake Brewster hit an RBI double. Another run scored on an error.

The Capahas scored in the second inning on a two-run Cam Womack single. The BeeJays came back with a run in the fourth inning on a Kendall Radcliffe ground out. Cody Bogart grounded into a fielder’s choice in the fifth inning to drive in a run. Jaron Robinson added an RBI single.

Cape Girardeau loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the seventh. The Capahas managed just one run on a Josh Haggerty fielder’s choice.

Robinson finished three for five hitting. Brewster went two for four. O’Donnell went two for five.

Drew Harper went three for four hitting for the Capahas. Womack, Alex Heuring and Drew Morecraft each went two for four.

Brady Wright took the loss for the Capahas, allowing five earned runs on 10 hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings. Ebon Brooks finished rhe game, allowing two hits, two walks and two strikeouts.

Cape Girardeau finishes the tournament 2-2.

Liberal will take on the NJCAA National Team at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The Sterling Xpress and Kansas Stars, a team that includes a number of ex-Major Leaguers, also await the BeeJays in Championship Week pool play.

“It means a lot,” Lexcano said. “We struggled a lot early in the season. Now the guys are jelling. They are playing good baseball. I’m seeing the improvement these guys made from the start of the season until now. Teams are going to have to play pretty good baseball to beat us.”

In Wednesday’s late game, the Kansas Cannons finished first week pool play 3-0 with a 9-1 win over the Inland Empire Golden Bears.

The Cannons entered the game already clinching the pool title. The Golden Bears finish 0-3.

The Cannons scored in the first inning on a Blight Madris sacrifice fly. In the bottom of the second, the Golden Bear’s Dustin McNicholl grounded into a fielder’s choice to drive in a run and tie the game.

The Cannons loaded the bases with one out in the top of the third inning, scoring a run on a wild pitch. Justin Graf-Rowe drove in a run with a ground out.

The Cannons broke the game open in the top of the seventh with four runs on three hits and an error. Colin Nevil hit a two-run single. Cooper Minnick added a sacrifice fly. Kevin Elcock hit an RBI single.

Nate Crossman hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth inning. Blake Meier drove in a run with a single in the top of the ninth.

Kasey Biddle threw six innings for the Cannons for the win, allowing one run on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Taylor Gulick, Skylar Thorpe and Newton Rebel Reagan McCloud finished out the game, striking out two.

Nando Ruiz took the loss for Inland Empire, lasting three innings. The Golden Bears used six other pitchers. Newton Rebel pickups Avery Reidmiller threw an inning, while Jacob Gibson threw two innings.

Crossman finished two for three hitting. Andre Riveroy went two for three hitting for the Golden Bears.

Valley Center pitcher John Millan carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning as the Diamond Dogs stopped the Kansas Collegiate League rival Kansas Cannons.

George Hewitt broke up the no-hitter with a leadoff double. Jacob Hamerle drove in Hewitt with a double. Nate Crossman then singled to score Hammerle.

Millan finished with three hits, two runs, two walks and two strikeouts. Jacob VanVacter finished the game.

Valley Center loaded the bases on three straight walks in the top of the second inning. The Diamond Dawgs then scored on a wild pitch. After another walk, Newton High grad Reagan McCloud, who the Cannons picked up from the Rebels after the end of the Rebels’ season, entered the game and retired the side without allowing further damage.

The Diamond Dawgs scored on a delayed double steal with runners at first and third base in the top of the third.

In the top of the fifth, Brian Deaver doubled and scored on a Chase Rader triple. Rader scored on a balk. The Dawgs added a run on a run-down play with runners at second and third.

Valley Center scored in the seventh on an error and an RBI single for Jordan Barba. Mikel Mucha hit a sacrifice fly for the Dawgs in the top of the ninth.

Trevor Nance took the loss for the Cannons. Kansas threw a total of six pitchers. McCloud finished with four runs in 3 2-3 innings on four hits with three walks.

Deaver finished three for five hitting for Valley Center. Mucha and Grant Devore finished two for five.

Valley Center plays the Seattle Studs at 7 p.m. Saturday.

In Wednesday’s late game, the Kansas Cannons finished first week pool play 3-0 with a 9-1 win over the Inland Empire Golden Bears.

The Cannons entered the game already clinching the pool title. The Golden Bears finish 0-3.

The Cannons scored in the first inning on a Blight Madris sacrifice fly. In the bottom of the second, the Golden Bear’s Dustin McNicholl grounded into a fielder’s choice to drive in a run and tie the game.

The Cannons loaded the bases with one out in the top of the third inning, scoring a run on a wild pitch. Justin Graf-Rowe drove in a run with a ground out.

The Cannons broke the game open in the top of the seventh with four runs on three hits and an error. Colin Nevil hit a two-run single. Cooper Minnick added a sacrifice fly. Kevin Elcock hit an RBI single.

Crossman hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth inning. Blake Meier drove in a rn with a single in the top of the ninth.

Kasey Biddle threw six innings for the Cannons for the win, allowing one run on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Taylor Gulick, Skylar Thorpe and Newton Rebel McCloud finished out the game, striking out two.

Nando Ruiz took the loss for Inland Empire, lasting three innings. The Golden Bears used six other pitchers. Newton Rebel pickups Avery Reidmiller threw an inning, while Jacob Gibson threw two innings.

Crossman finished two for three hitting. Andre Riveroy went two for three hitting for the Golden Bears.

National Baseball Congress

World Series

Thursday’s games

at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium,

Wichita

Play-in round

Liberal BeeJays 7, Cape Girardeau Capahas 3

Liberal 400 120 000 —7 12 0

Cape Gr. 020 000 100 —3 11 4

Goldsberry (W, 1-0), Smith 7, Hernandez 7, Busto 9 and Cox; Wright (L, 1-1), Brooks 6 and Qualls. Time — 2:09.

Valley Center Diamond Dawgs 8, Kansas Cannons 2

Val.Ctr. 011 030 201 —8 12 1

Cannons 000 000 002 —2 3 2

Millian (W, 1-0), VanVacter 9 and Whisler; Nance (L, 0-1), McCloud 2, Rogers 6, Lain 8, Paul 9, Fry 9 and Minnick. Time — 2:20.

Wednesday’s late game

Kansas Cannons 9, Inland Empire Golden Bears 1

Cannons 102 000 411 —9 10 2

Inland E. 010 000 000 —1 6 2

Biddle (W, 1-0), Gulick 7, Thorpe 8, McCloud 9 and Sanagorski; Ruiz (L, 0-1), Yount 4, Reidmiller 5, Redman 6, Proctor 7, Ekenbarger 7, Gibson 8 and Benz. Time — 2:13.

Championship Week

Today’s games

4:30 p.m. Northwest Honkers vs. San Diego Waves

7 p.m. Hutchinson Monarchs vs. Hays Larks

9:30 p.m. Santa Barbara Foresters vs. Haysville Aviators

Saturday’s games

Midnight Fairbanks Goldpanners vs. Sharp End Athletics

4:30 p.m. Liberal BeeJays vs. NJCAA National Team

7 p.m. Valley Center Diamond Dawgs vs. Seattle Studs

9:30 p.m. Sterling Xpress vs. Kansas Stars

Sunday’s games

Midnight San Diego Force vs. Dodge City A’s

2 p.m. Haysville Aviators vs. Fairbanks Goldpanners

4:30 p.m. Santa Barbara Foresters vs. Sharp End Athletics

7 p.m. San Diego Waves vs. Hays Larks

9:30 p.m. Hutchinson Monarchs vs. Northwest Honkers

Monday’s games

2 p.m. San Diego Force vs. Valley Center Diamond Dawgs

4:30 p.m. NJCAA National Team vs. Sterling Xpress

7 p.m. Liberal BeeJays vs. Kansas Stars

9:30 p.m. Dodge City A’s vs. Seattle Studs

Tuesday’s games

2 p.m. Sharp End Athletics vs. Haysville Aviators

4:30 p.m. Northwest Honkers vsHays Larks

7 p.m. Fairbanks Goldpanners vsSanta Barbara Foresters

9:30 p.m. San Diego Waves vs. Hutchinson Monarchs

Wednesday’s games

2 p.m. Sterling Xpress vs. Liberal BeeJays

4:30 p.m. Seattle Studs vs. San Diego Force

7 p.m. NJCAA National Team vs. Kansas Stars

9:30 p.m. Valley Center Diamond Dawgs vs. Dodge City A’s

Thursday’s games

Quarterfinals 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

Aug. 12

Semifinals 6 p.m., 8:30 p.m.

Aug. 13

Championship game 7 p.m.