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Monarchs harpoon Kraken, advance to NBC World Series championship game


By Brad Hallier

Like Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Taylor Swift, the hits just keep coming for the Hutchinson Monarchs. Now, after a rugged start to the season, the Monarchs are one win away from the NBC World Series championship.

The Monarchs continued their jaw-dropping offensive production at the NBC World Series on Friday at Wichita State’s Eck Stadium. The Monarchs clubbed 16 hits and pounded the Five Star Kraken (Texas) 17-0 in the first semifinal. The Monarchs will take on the winner of the Seattle Studs and the Santa Barbara Foresters in the championship game at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The Monarchs have won three of their five World Series games by mercy rule. They have scored at least 11 runs in four of the games. Not bad for a team that didn’t score for the first seven innings in its first game.

Since the eighth inning of that first game, when the Monarchs stormed back and beat the Hays Larks 6-4 in 11 innings, the Monarchs’ have scored runs like the 1961 New York Yankees and have been hitting baseballs harder than prime Mike Tyson hit opponents.

Since that eighth inning against Hays, the Monarchs have played 34 innings. They’ve scored 57 runs on 65 hits.

The pitching hasn’t been shabby either. Other than 11 runs allowed to GPS Lonestar, the Monarchs have allowed six runs in the other four games.

The Monarchs surged ahead of the Kraken in the second inning after the game was delayed more than an hour by lightning. Cooper Harris singled with one out, and Sam Wiese followed with a two-run home run.

The Monarchs were just getting started, scoring 10 runs on eight hits in the bottom of the third inning.

Will Edmunson started the rally with a leadoff single. He scored on Max Buettenback’s double. With one out, Wiese singled home Buettenback. Jarrett Flaggert followed with a two-run double. He advanced to third base on an error and scored on a wild pitch.

With the bases now empty, Blake Bradford walked and scored on Caleb Cotton’s double. Cotton scored on Drew Bugner’s single. Buettenback and Jaden Gustafson polished off the inning with a pair of RBI doubles.

The Monarchs kept going in the fourth inning. Paris Pridgen and Gustafson each belted RBI ground-rule doubles, and Buettenback had a two-run triple. Cotton also drove home a run on a sacrifice fly.

Buettenback led the Monarchs with three hits and four RBIs. Edmunson, Gustafson, Wiese and Bradford added two hits each.

Brady Pacha pitched a complete game for the Monarchs, giving up just one hit. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out eight.

The Monarchs are in the championship after starting the season 5-12.

The Monarchs now meet what is essentially the final boss in their quest for their first NBC World Series championship. The Studs and Foresters have won every NBC championship since 2011, except for 2017, when a team of ex-Major League Baseball standouts comprised the championship team, the Kansas Stars. Not counting that team, the last Kansas team to win the NBC World Series was the Liberal Bee Jays in 2010. Since then, the Hays Larks (twice), Cheney Diamond Dawgs (twice), Haysville Aviators and Wellington Heat have made the championship game but lost