By Brad Hallier
HUTCHINSON – It was a prime bunt situation, and Hutchinson Monarchs designated hitter Jon Jenkins gave every indication that was going to do just that.
With the winning run at second base and nobody out in the 10th inning Sunday night at Hobart-Detter Field against the Cheney Diamond Dawgs, Jenkins squared to bunt three times. After all, if he was successful, Jimmy Blumberg, standing at second base, would be 90 feet away from victory.
After taking three pitches, the count was 2-1. Then, Jenkins didn’t square up to bunt, like he had the previous three pitches. Instead, he took Jake Burcham’s pitch and smacked it over the left-field wall for a game-winning three-run home run, as the Monarchs beat their long-time rival 6-3.
The inning didn’t start well for Burcham, who walked Blumberg after getting ahead in the count 0-2. Burcham then walked Hunter Autrey on four pitches, putting two runners on base with Jenkins coming up.
The Hutchinson Community College player then hit the team’s first home run of the season in memorable fashion.
The Monarchs, who improved to 5-2, outhit the Diamond Dawgs 10-8. Jenkins had three hits to go with four RBIs.
The night didn’t start well, as the Monarchs trailed 2-0 before they batted. But behind third-inning RBIs from Blumberg and Jenkins, the Monarchs were able to get even.
The Monarchs’ pitching took it from there. Brett Wiemers, Carson Cornelius and Braden Davis combined to pitch seven innings in relief, allowing one unearned run on five hits, while striking out eight to just one walk.
The win enabled the Monarchs to nudge into a first-place tie in the Sunflower Baseball League with Great Bend.
The Monarchs will play at Cheney at 7 p.m. today. They will return home Friday for a 7 p.m. game against 316 Elite.