Kocic takes down Hutch with walk-off home run

Emmie Boese
Rose Hill celebrates after Garrett Kocic's walk-off home run against Hutchinson on Wednesday at Rose Hill High School. The Sluggers won 9-8 to improve to 11-2 on the season.

Garrett Kocic knows how to do his job and take care of business. On Wednesday night, in a tie game, Kocic did just that.

“I mean, it was a really fun game,” Kocis said. “It was back and forth all game. I just happened to be up in the last inning, and I just wanted to do my job and it paid off.”

Kocic took a pitch from Hutchinson’s Caden Progue over the fence for the game winner as the Rose Hill Sluggers survived a wild game from the Monarchs with the 9-8 win.

Rose Hill improves to 11-2 overall and 8-2 in conference. The Sluggers have now won eight straight games.

Rose Hill started the scoring when Zach Baxley hit a triple, sending Ross Cadena, Easten James and Adam Theis to home in the second inning. Theis then plated another for Rose Hill and got the RBI that sent Kocis and James home.

The Sluggers built a 5-0 lead after three innings. Then the Monarchs came rushing back into the game.

Hutch responded at the bottom of the fourth inning when Dylan Nedved hit a single and later stole second base before reaching home. The Monarchs had cut the lead to 5-2 after five.

The sixth-inning lead went back and forth, with three home runs blasted between the two teams.

Nedved from Hutchinson stole second base, and Austin Callahan then hit the first home run of the night. Austin Hamm scored an unearned run as the Monarchs plated four runs in the top of the sixth. Clayton Chadwick hit a home run to tie it at 5-all heading into the bottom of the sixth.

Baxley hit a home run to put the Sluggers up 7-5 after six. Rose Hill responded with another run in the seventh.

The Monarchs scored two in the top of the eighth inning. Ross Cadena then tied it up at 8-all when he reached on an error by the shortstop. The Wichita State catcher tied it up when teammate Hunter Gibson doubled to score him, sending it to the ninth tied at 8-8.

That’s when Kocic went to work.

Kocic drove a pitch over the fence, giving the Sluggers the win. It is another step in what is turning into a special season for the Sluggers.

Kocic finished 2-for-3, for two runs and an RBI. Baxley went 2-for-5.

Butler Community College commit Tanner Leslie pitched 1 1/3 innings, striking out one and picking up his first win of the season.

Both Baxley and Hunter Gibson lead the league in batting averages. Baxley is at the top of the league with a .514 average, with Gibson following behind at .429.

Starting pitcher Jackson Dietel went 4 1/3 innings, striking out four and allowing only one run. He dropped his ERA on the season down to 3.08

“We had a good performance out of our starter tonight, Jackson Dietel,” Rose Hill head coach Jake Jones said. “I was really proud of him. We threw three other arms, and it was really good to see all of them contribute in some way.”

The series now turns to Hutch for the final two games of the series. Games on Thursday and Friday both are anticipated to start at 7 p.m. at Hobart-Detter Field.

Hutchinson;000;104;120;— 8;9;0

Rose Hill;032;002;011;— 9;11;2