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Blue Dragon baseball forces second Region 6 championship game

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By Brad Hallier

The Hutchinson Community College baseball team has done it the hard way, but they need just one more win to claim the Region 6 championship.

After losing their first game of the tournament at Wichita State’s Eck Stadium, the Blue Dragons have rattled off five straight wins. Saturday, the Blue Dragons went to extra innings in both games they played, first beating Barton 3-2 in 10 innings in the loser’s bracket final and then beating Johnson County 11-8 in 10 innings in the first championship game. It was Johnson County’s first tournament loss.

Saturday’s wins came on the heels of two thrilling Friday wins, 9-8 over Kansas City and 8-6 over Cowley.

The Blue Dragons were sent to the loser’s bracket by Barton on Thursday in a 5-3 loss. The Blue Dragons avenged that loss in a thrilling way.

Hutch trailed 2-0 after the top of the third inning, but answered with single runs in the third and eighth innings. In the bottom of the 10th inning, Cooper Wesslund singled home Kael Babin for the winning run.

That sent Hutchinson to the championship round. In a wild, back-and-forth game, Hutchinson led Johnson County 6-2 going to the bottom of the seventh inning. Pitcher Jacob Hadden pitched 5 1/3 sharp innings in relief for the Blue Dragons, but Johnson County came back after Hadden’s day ended, scoring three runs in the eighth inning and two in the ninth with two outs, which tied the game 7-7.

With one out in the top of the 10th inning, Mac Bowie walked. Jackson Summers came in to run for Bowie, and he moved up 90 feet on Jordan Tucker’s walk. Babin walked, loading the bases, and Luis Pimentel-Guerrero was hit by a pitch, scoring Summers. Wesslund then walked with two outs, scoring Tucker. Quinn Maher then singled home two runs, giving Hutchinson an 11-7 lead.

Ashton Perkins earned the win, pitching the final 3 1/3 innings.

The Blue Dragons will look to become the third team in the double-elimination format to lose their first game and still win the Region 6 championship. Cowley was the first to do so in 2007, and Johnson County also did it in 2014. Hutchinson and Johnson County will play again at 1 p.m. Sunday