Red Devil romp – Iola Register

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March 17, 2021 – 10:06 AM
CHANUTE — Things are humming right along for Allen Community College’s baseball team.
Imagine how good they’d be if they had a regular place to practice.
The Red Devils resumed play Tuesday in fine fashion, sweeping host Neosho County Community College in a doubleheader in their first games since a doubleheader last Thursday.
Allen scored three times in the sixth to rally for a 3-2 win in the opener, before opening the offensive spigot in the fifth inning of game two for a 12-3 romp.
The victories push ACC’s record to 13-3 on the season and 3-1 in Jayhawk Conference action.
“This is the best we’ve played so far this year,” Red Devil head coach Clint Stoy said. “It finally felt like we had a little bit of a rhythm.”
The Red Devils followed a similar pattern in both victories: putting plenty of runners on base early and finally getting those runners around to score in the middle innings; wiggling out of Panther scoring opportunities with minimal damage; and offering air-tight defense. (Allen fielders didn’t make an error all day.)
“We made some very good defensive plays,” Stoy noted.
The opener tilted ACC’s way in the top of the sixth after ther Red Devils stranded two baserunners in each  the third, fourth and fifth innings and trailed 2-0 to Panther starter Owen Chaffin.
Alec Roberts led off with a single before Lukas Rich keyed the inning by poking an 0-2 delivery from Chaffin down the left field line for a double.
“Lukas had three hits, all the other way,” Stoy noted. “We’ve been really stressing that approach the last few days.”
Damon Burroughs then drilled a line drive up the middle that narrowly eluded the diving catch attempt by Neosho’s Khalil Thrasher to score Roberts and send Rich to third.
Colton Patterson’s ground ball to the second baseman easily scored Rich to tie the score. Burroughs then scored the lead run on a wild pitch.
Levi Bennett came on in relief, and allowed a leadoff double in the bottom of the inning. But he followed that with a strikeout, and then snared a line drive off the bat of Tyler Dinges that he turned into a double play by tossing the ball to second baseman Jonah Weisner before the baserunner could get back on the bag.
It marked the second time in the contest that a spectacular Allen defensive play prevented a Panther run from scoring. 
Third baseman Kurt Golubski caught a line drive off the bat of Neosho’s Jordon Helm to end the fourth with runners on second and third. Both easily would have scored without Golubski’s grab.
Bennett then picked up the save by striking out two in the bottom of the seventh to end the game.
Allen reliever Alex Dilley picked up the win with a scoreless inning of relief after ACC starter Luke Stone pitched the first four innings, striking out six, while allowing five hits. Dilley struck out one; Bennett three.
Josh Pinner singled twice; Weisner also had a single.
RED DEVIL batters pounded out 18 hits in the nightcap, perhaps none bigger than Roberts, who blasted a 3-2 pitch from Neosho starter Drake LaRoche beyond the right field fence for a two-run home run in the top of the fifth to give ACC a 4-0 lead.
“Alec is one of our best two-strike hitters,” Stoy said. “He really competes.”
That opened the floodgates for a Red Devil squad that again had plenty of baserunners but little to show for it early.
The lead swelled to 7-0 in the sixth on Patterson’s RBI double and Weisner’s two-run shot.
Golubski followed suit with a two-run homer in the seventh. His bases-loaded walk in the eighth then scored Allen’s 10th run.
Burroughs and Beau Brown added RBI singles in the ninth.
Meanwhile, ACC’s Trey Jordan was brilliant on the mound, allowing just two hits and a walk through his five-inning, six-strikeout performance.
Relievers Connor Clark, Patrick Babcock and Slade Renfrow wobbled a bit, but kept Neosho at bay by stranding a combined seven baserunners over three innings of relief.
Brian Beers then closed the door by retiring Neosho’s Andrew Brautman on a ground ball  with the bases loaded to end the eighth. He then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to end the game.
“That’s one of the biggest improvements we made on the mound, especially, just being competitive, and not letting walks beat you,” Stoy said. “That’s what happens, especially in junior college baseball, where walks are devastating.”
The final play of the game, fittingly, came on Weisner’s diving stop of a ground ball up the middle to nab NCCC batter Mason Lundgrin.
Burroughs rapped out four hits in the victory, while Bennett added three. Weisner, Golubski, Logan Easterling and Josh Prinner all had two hits.
TUESDAY’S doubleheader had been pushed back three times because of rainy weather before the teams could retake the field.
“That’s the biggest thing for us. Any time we can get on a field, we take advantage of it, because we don’t have a field to get on right now.”
Allen still has yet to play a true home game this season because of a new turf infield being installed at the ACC ball diamond. 
Weather delays have pushed back the project’s completion date to mid-April, at the earliest.
“That’s OK,” Stoy said. “You can either use it as an excuse, or use it as motivation. We like to use it as motivation.”
Indeed, the Red Devils have embraced a “road warrior” mentality, playing anybody, anywhere at any time.
The Red Devils are slated to take on Carl Albert State College in Humboldt on Friday and Saturday.
“These guys don’t care,” Stoy said of the venue. 
“Look at them. They’re just glad to be playing. They’re a really close group. We had to have a close group and stay positive and keep positive vibes. Or else you start to make excuses about not having a field and not having a place to practice. We’re gonna avoid the excuses and keep the road warrior mentality.”

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