Local Sports

CHAMPS!! Russell Sr. Legion Claims Zone, Advances to State

Russell Senior Legion Wins Zone TournamentThe Russell Post 99 Senior American Legion Baseball team battled back from an early deficit then held off a defiant Hoisington ball club 6-5 Monday night at the Shaffer Field Sports Complex to win the AA Zone 2 Championship and advance to the state tournament for the fourth consecutive year.

Russell, the designated visiting team, jumped out to a 2-0 first inning lead for the second straight game on an RBI groundout by Kirk Huser and a wild pitch.  However, Hoisington, a 7-4 winner earlier Monday evening against Smith County responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the frame on a fielder's choice, a balk and a wild pitch.  The score remained 3-2 in favor of Hoisington through four innings as Russell starting pitcher Cole Schmidtberger and Hoisington hurler Braxton Donovan both settled down and worked their way out of several jams.

In the top of the fifth, Kyle Farmer reached second base on a fielding error by Hoisington left fielder Trey Byers.  After a sacrifice bunt moved him to third base, Farmer came home to score when Huser struck out.  Hoisington catcher Jake Specht however couldn't hang on to the ball and in his effort to throw Huser out at first base, he left his position behind home plate allowing Farmer in with the tying run.

In the top of the sixth, Cooper Windholz led off with a single and Josh Foster walked.  Windholz went to third on a force play but then was out attempting to be part of a double-steal with Kaden Rome who successfully swiped second base.  Windholz was caught in a rundown and tagged out at third base.  After Kyler Fritschen walked, Farmer popped up to the right side of the infield for what appeared to be the inning's final out.  However, Hoisington second baseman Braden Schulte slipped and dropped the ball and Rome and Fritschen scored on the play to give Russell a 5-3 lead.  Another run scored on an RBI single by Huser to extend the advantage to 6-3.

Hoisington would not go away though as they struck back with two runs in the bottom of the sixth.  Farmer, in relief of Schmidtberger faced a bases loaded situation with two outs after back-to-back walks but he struck out Cole Steinert looking to end the frame and keep Russell in the lead.  Farmer then retired Hoisington in order in the seventh to pick up the win and send Russell to next week's state tournament in Hays.  

Russell (15-8) will begin play in the state tournament on Wednesday, July 31 against Iola at 5:30 PM at Larks Park.  All Russell games can be heard on KRSL 95.9 FM and online at KRSL.com.

Russell "AA" Zone Tournament Schedule

Saturday, July 20
Game 1 - 3PM - #4 Smith County 13, #5 Ellinwood 1
Game 2 - 5PM - #3 Russell 15, #2 Lincoln County 7
Game 3 - 7PM - #4 Smith County 16, #1 Hoisington 3

Sunday, July 21
Game 4 - 3PM - #5 Ellinwood 5, #2 Lincoln County 1 (Lincoln County eliminated)
Game 5 - 5PM - #3 Russell 7, #4 Smith County 6
Game 6 - 7PM - #1 Hoisington 9, #5 Ellinwood 5 (Ellinwood eliminated)

Monday, July 22
Game 7 - 6PM - #1 Hoisington 7, #4 Smith County 4 (Smith County eliminated)
Game 8 - 8PM - #3 Russell 6, #1 Hoisington 5 (Russell Wins Zone Championship)

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