OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – The No. 16-ranked Johnson County Community College baseball team (44-10) took game one of the Region VI first-round series against Garden City Community College yesterday afternoon with a 13-6 victory. The Cavaliers can close out the series today with a victory.
The Cavaliers have one of the top offensive teams in the country and on Thursday afternoon, they did not disappoint, ripping 18 hits including six doubles and two home runs.
The middle of the order provided the rest of the damage. Chris Esposito matched his career high with four hits, including two doubles, and drove in three runs. Jacob Owens had a solo home run and a single to drive in two and Malik Williams ripped two doubles, had an RBI and scored twice for the Cavaliers.
While JCCC pounding out hits, so were the Broncbuster. Garden City collected 11 hits, seven off Cavaliers ace right-hander Zachary Ebert. They had several opportunities to add more runs, but Ebert was able to work his way out of several jams, including a bases loaded, no-out situation in the top of the sixth. Ebert got a pop out, fielded a ground ball and threw home for a force out and got a fly out to center to end the threat.
Ebert picked up his league-leading 12th win of the season and set a new milestone in his career. He struck out seven batters to increase his career and team record total to 206, making him just the fifth pitcher in Kansas Jayhawk Conference history to reach 200 strikeouts. He also becomes the first Johnson County pitcher to register two 100-plus strikeout seasons. He has 101 this season, just four shy of his 105 strikeout campaign a year ago.
Corbin Truslow and Dakota Finley were the top hitters for Garden City, each with three hits. Malachi Crone took the loss, just his second of the season, as he allowed 11 runs off 14 hits in five innings pitched.