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NBC Royalty: Monarchs down Santa Barbara to Claim First Championship


By Brad Hallier


It was fitting the final inning of the 2023 Hutchinson Monarchs season featured these matchups.

Reed Scott, the Monarchs’ closer, pitching against the Santa Barbara Foresters’ Rocco Gonza-Gongora, Nate Voss and Ryan Black.

Scott, a Buhler product who just finished his two years at Hutchinson Community College, pitching against batters who play at the University of Oklahoma, the University of Michigan, and the University of Texas-Arlington.

A juco pitcher from central Kansas facing off against three NCAA Division 1 players, two from Power Five programs.

Scott retired the three Foresters in order. The upset, and the dream, were complete Saturday at Eck Stadium.

Monarchs 6, Foresters 3.



The Monarchs, a franchise that was born in 2009, had taken down the mighty Foresters in the NBC World Series championship game. The Monarchs, a team that didn’t exist when Santa Barbara won its second title in 2008, are NBC champions for the first time.

And it was nothing short of arguably the greatest upset, and maybe least likely champion in tournament history.

The Monarchs started the season 5-12 and were barely over .500 when the regular season came to a close. But they managed to snag the final NBC World Series bid. Then, they started a six-game run where they played their best baseball of the season, starting with a thrilling 6-4, 11-inning win over another NBC blueblood, the Hays Larks.

Even as the Monarchs navigated pool play, the quarterfinals and the semifinals, Santa Barbara is a different beast, akin to an almost unbeatable video game final boss (think Mike Tyson in “Mike Tyson’s Punchout”).

Santa Barbara has 23 Division 1 players on its roster, most coming from Power Five programs, such as Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Arizona. The Monarchs have nine Division 1 players.

And yet, the Monarchs never trailed. Starting pitcher Cole Toureau, who pitches at Hutchinson Community College, went into the eighth inning and stymied the Foresters. Toureau allowed two runs on six hits, striking out six and walking none.

The Monarchs struggled to get their potent offense going, but broke through with two runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

With two on base and two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Will Edmunson lined a double into the left-field corner, scoring Caleb Cotton and Jarrett Flaggert.

The Monarchs doubled their lead the next inning. Jaden Gustafson led off and was hit by a pitch. Cooper Harris then doubled to center field, scoring Gustafson. Harris scored with one out on Flaggert’s double.

Toureau ran into trouble in the seventh inning, as the Foresters got on the board. With two on and one out, Monarchs first-year manager Casey Lippoldt visited Toureau, and after a long discussion, opted to leave Toureau in.

The decision paid off, as Toureau got a pop-out and strikeout to end the inning.

The Monarchs got a little more insurance in the bottom of the seventh. With nobody on and two outs, Max Buettenback doubled to center field. Then, on a night when the ball was not carrying to the outfield, Gustafson walloped a home run to center field.

The Foresters came back with two runs in the top of the eighth. Monarchs relief pitcher Derick Johnson ended the threat by stranding two runners after an inning-ending strikeout.

The partisan Monarchs crowd then wildly cheered every out in the ninth inning, with Scott striking out Black to end the game.

The history of summer collegiate baseball is grand in Hutchinson. And yet, not even some of the Monarchs’ strongest teams, nor the fabled Hutchinson Broncs teams with Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Macfarlane, Pete Incaviglia and Rafael Palmeiro, had ever won the NBC World Series. That honor was often reserved for the teams like Santa Barbara, the Seattle Studs, the Hays Larks, the Liberal Bee Jays, the defunct El Dorado Broncos, and the Alaska teams.

Now, that honor includes the Hutchinson Monarchs.