Kansas Cannons happy to be playing baseball again

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Kansas Cannons' pitcher Connor Hart throws a pitch in the first game of the double header against the Haysville Aviators on Thursday, June 3 at Rodney Wheeler Stadium in Augusta, Kansas.

AUGUSTA, Kansas—There was so much baseball played on Thursday night, the lights had enough and turned themselves off. 

Well, sort of. 

The timer on the lights went off in the bottom of the eighth as both games went into extra innings and with the Kansas Cannons unfortunately coming out on the wrong side in both games, 4-2 in Game 1 and 6-5 in Game 1. 

"It was really great to be back out here," Cannons Head Coach Dusty Gray said. "We'll get right back into it quickly as we play 45 games in 55-60 days."

More:Kansas Cannons prepare for 2021 Kansas Collegiate Baseball League

It's already three games in two days for the Cannons as they beat Topeka in their season opener on Wednesday night. They wrap up the non-league games on Friday, with a solo game with the Denver Cougars, a perennial NBC World Series team. 

After not having a season in 2020 due to COVID-19, when the Kansas Collegiate League chose not to play, the Cannons, like many of the teams in their league, had to wait until this season. Only the Liberal Bee Jays played last season as an independent. 

Now, the league is back and it's expected to be once again a tough, quality league from top to bottom with the Bee Jays in the Jayhawk division. There's also the Cannons and an array of contenders in the East. 

It wasn't the outcomes the Cannons wanted, but with a rowdy group down the third base line and the hamburgers grilling, it was almost a perfect day for some baseball.

"Oh yeah, it was a great day to play," Gray said. 

More:El Dorado Broncos abruptly cancel 2021 season

The Aviators scored two runs in the top of the ninth, but it wasn't before Tripp Clark scored on a Jordan Ellison single in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game. 

It happened similarly in Game 2 after Haysville put up a five spot in the top of the third inning. The Cannons clawed back with two runs in the bottom of the sixth and two more in the bottom of the seventh to tie it. 

"These guys showed a lot of heart and never quit," Gray said. "They competed the whole game and that's what we want.

"We'll take that and learn from it and eventually it's going to go our way."

Kansas Cannons' Tripp Clark waits for a pitch at second base in the bottom of the eighth inning of Game 1 against the Haysville Aviators on Thursday, June 3 at Rodney Wheeler Stadium in Augusta, Kansas.

With so many games in so many days, rest will be key for the Cannons. They are missing some players as Angelo State is still competing in the NCAA Division-II College World Series.

"It's all about rest and taking care of yourself," Gray said. "We're on a pitch count right now, but we have a few more coming in to give us a little deeper staff."

For now, the Cannons will focus on their upcoming game with the Cougars and then their first KCLB games with the Dodge City A's this weekend.

"It's great to be back," Gray said. "We're super excited to play this season."

Game 1: Haysville 4, Kansas 2 (nine innings)

AVIATORS 010 100 002—4 9 0

CANNONS 000 101 000—2 10 0

Game 2: Haysville 6, Kansas 5 (eight innings)

AVIATORS 005 000 01—6 5 1

CANNONS 100 002 20—510 0

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.