BLUE DRAGON BASEBALL
Hutchinson (41-19) vs. Colby (36-20)
Hutchinson CC Sports Information
WICHITA – Zion Bowlin's incredible defensive play on the first batter of the game set the tone and the Hutchinson Community College baseball team's offense followed suit on Wednesday in the opening round of the Central District Tournament.
The Blue Dragons' offense came to life with 15 total hits, including home runs from Riley Metzger and Zach Baxley as Hutchinson downed Fort Scott 15-2 in five innings in an opening-round matchup on Wednesday at Eck Stadium.
The top-seeded Blue Dragons improve to 41-19. The Dragons advance to the winner's bracket semifinal to face the Colby Trojans at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Colby rallied to defeat Johnson County 12-11 in 10 innings on Wednesday night.
The Blue Dragons had one of their best overall offensive games of the season with all nine starters scoring at least one run, 8 of the 9 had at least one hit and 6 of the 9 had at least one RBI.
The game started on a spectacular note when Bowlin robbed Fort Scott leadoff hitter Owen Wilson of a home run on a drive to right field. Bowlin perfectly timed his leap at the wall to make the catch.
Hutchinson then batted around twice, scoring six runs in the second inning on three hits and two Greyhound errors. The Dragons then send 11 batters to the plate in the fourth and racked up seven runs on seven hits to take a 15-0 lead after four innings.
Brian Skillman, who earned a second big-game start after several clutch performances late in the regular season, wound up twirling a five-inning complete game to improve to 2-0 for the season.
Skillman was hit hard early. After Bowlin's catch in the first, Fort Scott had runners at first and third with one out. Skillman then struck out Aris Nakagawa and Hampton Hall – those Greyhound players have combined for 31 home runs this season – to stop that threat. After allowing a leadoff double to Andrew Paulsey in the second, Skillman then started a run of nine consecutive Greyhounds retired.
Skillman struck out five and walked two, while allowing five hits and two earned runs. Skillman lost a chance at a shutout when Grant Goldston tripled in two runs to right center with two out in the fifth inning.
The top four batters in the Hutch order combined to go 10 for 12 with nine runs scored and nine RBIs.
Metzger hit his third postseason home run with a three-run shot in Hutch's seven run fourth inning. Bowlin tripled in a run. Moritz was 2 for 4 with a run and RBI. Baxley hit a long two-run home run in the fourth to go 1 for 3.
Thursday's Hutchinson-Colby game will be videostreamed by the Blue Dragon Sports Network at 6:45 p.m. if the first three games of the tournament remain on time.