Payton Tolle was right at home on Thursday when he pitched six shutout innings to power the Santa Barbara Foresters, the two-time defending champions, to the semifinals of the National Baseball Congress World Series.
The budding two-way star on the Wichita State baseball team capitalized on his home-field advantage playing at Eck Stadium in the opening round of single-elimination bracket play, as Santa Barbara run-ruled the Mansfield (Texas) TBT Ballers in an 8 -0 win after seven innings.
Tolle, a 6-foot-6 left-hander, allowed just three hits and struck out one in his debut performance for the California all-star team. The Foresters will play the Seattle Studs in Friday’s 8:30 pm semifinal game at Eck Stadium in a matchup that features two programs that have won 10 of the last 11 NBC World Series titles.
Former Jayhawk League programs battle in Friday’s 6 pm semifinal, as the Hays Larks will take on the Liberal Bee Jays for the right to play in Saturday’s 7 pm championship game.
For the Foresters, Nate Rombach, a Dallas Baptist standout, continued his hot play in the tournament with a 2-RBI, ground-rule double in the first inning, then scored on a wild pitch to give Santa Barbara the early 3-0 lead .
With Tolle silencing the Ballers’ bats, Santa Barbara was able to end the game in the bottom of the seventh inning on a bases-clearing, 3-RBI double to left field by Hunter Ensley, an outfielder who just completed his redshirt freshman season at Tennessee.
Seattle Studs 2 Hutchinson Monarchs 1
The pitcher’s duel of the tournament, the Studs and Monarchs were tied 1-1 until the 14th inning when Seattle scrapped across a run for the win.
After Braeden Terry led off the top of the 14th inning for Seattle with a single, then advanced to second base on an error, William DeForest chopped a ground ball through the left side of the infield to score Terry for what would become the winning run.
Hutchinson put the tying run on first base with two outs on a Hunter Autrey single, but the rally would end there thanks to the seventh and final strikeout by Seattle reliever Roy Robles, who pitched five scoreless innings with one hit allowed in relief of starter Anthony Brady, who pitched the first nine innings.
It was a devastating result for Hutchinson reliever William Maynard, who pitched the final eight innings of the game and struck out 12 batters.
Hutchinson’s only run of the game came in the first inning when Lane Brewster led off with a triple, then scored on an RBI single by Olathe native and Wichita State freshman Alex Birge. Seattle matched the run in the top of the second inning before the teams traded 11 straight frames of scoreless baseball.
Hays Larks 5, Lonestar Baseball Club 2
Hays broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the seventh inning, as it scored two runs in back-to-back innings to pull away.
Hunter Rosson, a Texas Arlington star, hit a solo home run while Austen Jaslove, a Tennessee shortstop, delivered a 2-RBI single. Starter Brady Rose, a Dallas Baptist pitcher, earned the win by allowing a single earned run through seven innings with six strikeouts.
Liberal Bee Jays 6, Haysville Aviators 1
Liberal exploded for all six runs in the final three innings to recover from a 1-0 deficit to advance to the semifinals.
Daylan Pena (Texas State), Zach Yorke (Grand Canyon) and Tyce Armstrong (Texas Arlington) all delivered RBI hits in the top of the seventh inning to put Liberal ahead 3-1. Cooper Hext, an outfielder for McNeese State, hammered a two-run home run in the ninth inning to provide the final score line.
Despite finishing with 13 hits (one more than Liberal), Haysville managed just one run with all nine batters finishing with one hit. Paul Wittman, Trent Mallonee, Drake Girard and Austin Warkins all finished with two hits.
SummerBall Showdown moves to single-elimination games
The 20-team summer baseball tournament being played at the Genesis Sports Complex in Goddard wrapped up its seeding games on Thursday, as single-elimination bracket play begins on Friday.
The El Dorado Walnuts, Kansas Cannons, Park City Rangers, Corn Belt Omaha, Dirtbag Baseball Club and PSCL Select were the six teams to finish 2-0 in their blind-draw games to start the week.
The quarterfinal games will be played on Saturday night, while the semifinals will be played at 1 pm Sunday with the championship game starting at 7 pm that same night with a live DJ and karaoke.
Summer Ball Showdown Friday schedule
1 pm—Wichita Black Sox vs. ICT Avengers, Field 1
2—US Military Wardogs vs. 316 Baseball, Field 2
2—Mid-Crest Pumas vs. Valley Center Mud Daubers, Field 5
3—Cluckers Baseball vs. McPherson Pipeliners, Field 3
4—Great Bend Bat Cats vs. Lake Hefner Pelicans, Field 1
5—Wellington Heat vs. Midwest Moss, Field 2
5—Dirtbag Baseball vs. Kansas Curve, Field 5
6—PSCL Select vs Newton Rebels, Field 3
7—Wichita Black Sox-ICT Avengers winner vs. Corn Belt Omaha, Field 1
8—US Military Wardogs-316 Baseball winner vs. El Dorado Walnuts, Field 2
8—Mid-Crest Pumas-Valley center Mud Daubers winner vs. Kansa Cannons, Field 5
9—Cluckers Baseball-McPherson Pipeliners winner vs. Park City Rangers, Field 3