Kansas Cannons pick up run-rule victory over Denver Cougars

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Kansas Cannons' Carson Pracht slides across home plate in the bottom of the fifth inning in Friday's 16-4 win over the Denver Cougars

AUGUSTA, Kansas—It took some time after two days of very late nights to figure out the Denver Cougars on Friday night. However, when they did finally get back into rhythm, the Cannons were firing all the way to a run-rule win.

The Cannons scored 16 runs in two innings to run-rule the Cougars, 16-4 in seven innings.

“It took a bit to get going,” Cannons manager Dusty Gray said. “We’re seeing the effects from a couple late nights between long road trips and last night but once we got going, guys did what they should do and took care of business.

The fifth inning saw the Cannons plate nine runs on six hits including multiple triples, one by Paul Schoenfeld and another by Barton CC’s Jordan Ellison. Butler CC’s Jaren Jackson had a single to score runs in the inning and push the lead to 16-4.

Jackson, who finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs on the night credit their aggressiveness.

“We started being more aggressive earlier in counts,” Jackson said. “That was basically it.”

It was much of the same in the previous inning where the Cannons put seven runs across like they were playing football instead of baseball. The Cannons saw two runs score via the walks with the bases loaded. Schoenfeld had a single to score another.

The determination to turn around after last night’s heartbreaking double header loss shows the resiliency, already this early in the season. The Haysville Aviators beat Kansas in extra innings in both games last night that saw the final game end at almost 1 a.m. 

The late night showed early as Denver scored as Morgan Altherr doubled to scored Aiden Smith, who reached on an error for the game’s first run. 

The Cougars (1-3) found three more runs in the top of the third when Trace Maddux would single to score two runs. Nickolas Esquivel would single to score Maddux to push Denver’s lead to 4-0 midway through three innings. 

It took time but the patience by the Cannons paid off. Denver’s Andrew Hirsch had been cruising in the first few innings, mixing up his fast ball with off speed pitches and keeping the Cannons on their toes but they were able to finally breakthrough in the fourth. 

Schoenfeld, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI says it was as simple as hitting the ball where the Cougars were not.

“I feel like yesterday we hit the ball well but we hit it right at people,” Schoenfeld said. “Today, we wre gapping shots. It was fun to see the ball fly.”

Wade Reynolds found a single and Carson Shively followed that up with one of his own. Then, it was a hit by a pitch and two walks that put more runs on the board for the Cannons. Even after the Cougars made a pitching change, the Cannons made them pay. 

“They say hitting is contagious,” Gray said. “We saw that tonight.”

In all, the Cannons finished with 16 runs on 10 hits and managed five walks. 

The Cannons are no stranger to putting up double digits as they did it against the Kansas Curve, beating them 17-2 on July 13, 2019. They also scored 17 on the Cougars the last time they played, beating Denver 17-16 on May 30, 2019.

Cole Gordon pitched 2 1/3 innings to get the win. He didn’t allow a run or a hit during his time on the bump.

Hirsch picks up the loss for Denver.

The Cannons will open up the Kansas Collegiate League schedule on Saturday, June 5 against the Dodge City As (1-1). First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Rodney Wheeler Stadium.

Kansas 16, Denver 4 (seven innings)

Cougars 103 000 0XX—4 2 2

Cannons 000 790 XXX—16 10 2

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.