In the KJCCC series opener, the Red Ravens took on the Kansas City Kansas Blue Devils in a four game series. On Thursday March 1st, the Red Ravens traveled to KCK for two games followed by KCK traveling to Coffeyville to conclude the series.
Game 1: KCK 3 Red Ravens 0
In game one, the Red Ravens had their ace, Gavin Heltemes, to the mound to start the series. Heltemes pitched very well going 5.0 innings with 5 hits, 2 runs, and 4 strikeouts. Despite his performance, Heltemes took the loss as the Red Raven offense couldn't make the adjustments against a good outing by KCK's starter Cole Gacke.
Following Heltemes on the mound was red shirt freshman Hunter McMahon. McMahon had missed the previous 16 months due to Tommy John surgery. It was a positive look for the Red Ravens as McMahon pitched 0.2 of an inning striking out one and giving up zero walks. McMahon showed a lot of promise for head coach Jake Martin going forward as he was able to flash the radar gun several times as well.
Game 2: Red Ravens 8 KCK 3
Following game one, the Red Ravens bounced back extraordinarily. Freshman Aaron Bechtel took the mound for the Red Ravens. In his conference debut, the freshman showed exactly what he is capable of doing. Bechtel went 6.1 innings pitched, 7 hits, 3 runs, and 1 strikeout for his first collegiate win. As well as Bechtel pitched, he was supported very well by the Red Raven offense.
Freshman OF/DH Connor Boyt went 2/4 on the day with 1 RBI coming off a mammoth home run; his first of his career.
Boyt wasn't the only freshman that produced offensively for the Red Ravens. Outfielder Chase Freeman collected 2 hits, one being a double.
Sophomore center fielder Antonio Culotta showed great patience at the plate as he drew 3 walks on the game.
To close the game out on the mound, Martin relied on two sophomores. Trevor Lunkwitz would go 1.2 innings with 2 strikeouts for his first hold of the season. Garon Johnson would come in to slam the door in the ninth as he would go 3 up and 3 down on 3 strike outs; his first hold of the season as well.
Game 3: Red Ravens 7 KCK 6
**Walk off Alert**
With momentum going the way of the Red Ravens, Martin would hand the ball to freshman left handed pitcher Quinten "Louisiana" Romero. Louisiana gave the Red Ravens exactly what they needed to keep their energy going. The freshman would go 4.1 innings pitched, 6 strikeouts, and 5 hits. A bullpen mishap would lead to Louisiana getting a no decision in his outing.
Continuing with their offensive fluidity, the Red Ravens put up four runs quickly.
Once again, Culotta was the catalyst for the team. On the game, Culotta would go 2/5 with 2 RBI and a lead off triple.
Sophomore short stop Damon Jorgeson would also go 1/3 with a run and a RBI.
After the bullpen gave up the lead, Martin went to sophomore John Laureano-Taveras to keep the game at striking distance. Taveras would go 2 innings pitched, giving up only one hit and striking out two.
Down 6-4 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, Martin got the wheels turning with a couple key pinch hits. Freshman Hunter Reed would lead off with a walk (his third of the game) followed by pinch hitter, freshman Blake Carroll. Carroll would also draw a walk. Sophomore 3b/1b Tyler Brown, pinch hitting for Brett Mitchell, would send a towering fly ball to left field scoring the pinch runner from third. In steps freshman third baseman and captain Austin Bonnel. With two strikes and two outs, Bonnel would rifle a ball through the short stops diving glove, scoring Carroll for the game winning run!
Game 4: Red Ravens 10 KCK 2
Looking to win the series, the Red Ravens would put the ball in freshman Garrison Walton's hand. Walton would respond with confidence. The freshman from Oak Grove, Missouri would 6 innings, 8 strikeouts, 5 hits, and only surrendering one run.
Offensively, the Red Ravens had plenty of production from their starters. Reed would go 2/4 with 1 run scored. Boyt also added 2 hits going 2/4 with an RBI. Team captain Brett Mitchell would go 1/4 with a double and a run scored.
Culotta once again was a focus for the Red Raven offense. He would go 1/3 with two walks and three runs scored.
Carroll would also have himself a game as he would go 2/2 with 5 RBI and a triple.
The Red Ravens received a top notch performance from their bullpen as well.
Freshman Dylan Matthew would pitch 2 innings, giving up no hits, while striking out three for his first collegiate hold.
Johnson would return to the mound to slam the door again going 1 inning striking out two and giving up one run.
Antonio Culotta: 3/10 5R 5BB 1-triple 2RBI
Connor Boyt: 5/10 2RBI 2R 1-HR
Aaron Bechtel: 1W 6.1ip 1K
Garrison Walton: 1W 6.0ip 8K 5H 1R