After winning two elimination games last weekend, the Kansas Cannons lost Tuesday to one of the perennial powerhouses in the NBC World Series. They tied for ninth in the World Series and finished the season with a 31-19 record.
Aug. 7: Seattle 8, Cannons 0
The deeper you go into the World Series, the better the teams are. Even in the loser’s bracket. The Cannons found that out the hard way when they were eliminated by the Seattle Studs.
Seattle, which twice in the last four years finished second in the Series, had 18 hits. By contrast, the Cannons managed just five safeties.
“You pretty much summed it up,” Cannons coach Kyle Touchatt said. “They were hitting really good pitches. I tip my cap to them.”
The Studs had three base runners in the top of the first, but the Cannons’ defense kept them off the board. Cather Levi Meyer threw out a runner stealing second. With runners at first and second, Corey Cowan started a third-to-first double play to end the inning.
Seattle broke through with a pair of runs on four hits in the top of the second.
The bottom half of the inning was the Cannons best chance to score. Down 2-0, Josh Halbert singled with one out, and James Threw reached on an error. Ty Kildow followed with a single, but the center fielder gunned Halbert down at the plate.
Touchatt admitted he made a mistake sending Halbert but was reluctant to call that play a momentum changer.
“It very well could have been,” he said. “I hate to say no, but it probably could have been.”
The Cannons grudgingly surrendered a run here and a run there until they trailed 6-0. Seattle put it away with a three-run outburst in the ninth.
Halbert went 2 for 3 with a walk and was the only Cannon with more than one hit. They were retired in order four times.
Aaron Larsen started and took the loss. He was followed to the mound by Ryan Scoles, Ethan Ward and Matt Smith.
Touchatt told the players after the game to remember the entire season and not dwell on this particular loss.
“I told them, ‘I hope you look back and realize we were the last Walter Johnson team standing, we finished third in the league, second in the regionals, we took first in the (qualifying) tournament, and took ninth here in the World Series,’ ” he said. “I hope they don’t reflect upon anything in a negative sense.”
Aug. 5: Cannons 7, Impact Sports (Colo.) 4
It was the second straight game in which the Cannons scored four runs in the first inning. This time, they did it without a hit as the first five batters reached base.
Page 2 of 3 - “I don’t care how we do it, as long as we’re still playing the game,” Touchatt said.
Kildow was plunked on the second pitch of the inning. Consecutive walks to Tory Stoffregen, Scott Sammons and Kyle Johnston -- followed by another hit batsman -- made it 3-0. The fourth run scored on a fielder’s choice.
Starter Derek Martinez allowed a run in the top of the second, but the Cannons got it back in the bottom half. With one out, Kildow was hit by a pitch, stole second, moved to third on an infield hit, and scored on an error.
In the fourth, Halbert doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Sammons to make it 6-1.
Impacts Sports scored single runs in the fifth and seventh to pull to within three.
Leading 6-3, Sammons opened the seventh with a booming triple to the fence in right center field. He scored on a sacrifice fly.
The Colorado squad made it interesting in the ninth, scoring a run with two outs. With two on and the tying run at the plate, Ben French induced a slow roller to Sammons that ended the game.
With a 3-for-3 night, Kildow upped his tournament average to .526, seventh best. His four RBIs lead the team and are second highest in the World Series.
“I’m just sticking with the same approach I’ve been sticking with all year,” he said. “I’m lucky that some balls have found some holes. I don’t feel like I’ve switched anything up.”
Meyer was hitless but contributed a pair of RBIs.
Martinez didn’t have his best stuff, but it was good enough to get the win. He allowed six hits, walked three and struck out six in seven innings. Ethan Ward and French each tossed an inning.
“He did well, but it wasn’t your typical Derek,” Touchatt said. “We were just kind of draggy a little bit, so it was good to get it out of our system.”
Aug. 4: Cannons 6, North County Waves 5
After taking a four-run lead in the bottom of the first, the Cannons trailed by one in the seventh. But they rallied with two runs in the bottom of the eighth and eked out the victory.
“We put it on them early, then we kind of went to sleep,” Touchatt said. “Mentally I think we’re just kind of picking it up, and they’re just making the plays when they have to.”
Trailing 5-4, pinch hitter Meyer led off the eighth with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Halbert lined a double into the gap that easily scored pinch runner John Bonebrake and tie the game.
Page 3 of 3 - With Halbert at third and one out, Blaine Hashagen came on to pinch hit. He lined a double off the left-field wall that scored Halbert for a 6-5 lead.
“Coming off the bench you have to know that you’re looking for a fastball. You’re looking for something you can square up and hit,” Hashagen said. “I just got lucky that the pitcher gave me a fastball, something I could catch up to, something I could square up.”
Smith pitched the ninth and saved the win for Ward, who pitched the eighth.
Stoffregen’s two-run home run in the first got the Cannons going. They added two more on a double by Halbert and an outfield error on his hit. That was the extent of the Cannons’ offense until the eighth.
North County sliced the four-run deficit in half with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings. The Waves took a 5-4 lead on a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Stoffregen and Halbert each had a pair of RBIs for the Cannons.