When Lawrence Raiders leadoff hitter CJ Stuever opened the game with a triple down the right-field line Thursday morning at Hoglund Ballpark, he and his teammates assumed scoring runs in bunches and winning their Jayhawk Classic opener against the Kansas City Bullets wouldn’t be too much to ask.
Thirteen innings and more than two and a half hours later, the showcase’s time limit went into effect, and the game ended in a 6-6 tie.
The Raiders’ Kieran Severa, Shane Willoughby and Lee McMahon opened the top of the seventh with three straight singles, setting off a two-run seventh, tying the game at 5 and sending the teams into extra innings. But neither Lawrence nor K.C. crossed the plate again until the 13th.
Stuever led off the final frame with a single to right and Severa moved him up to second base with a sacrifice bunt. After Willoughby walked, the Bullets botched a potential double-play ball McMahon struck up the middle, and Stuever scored on the error for a 6-5 Lawrence advantage.
Upon taking the lead for the first time since the second inning, though, the Raiders (6-5-1) got burned in the bottom of the 13th by Austin Hoegerl’s one-out triple over Severa’s head in center field. Willoughby, who moved from shortstop to pitcher for the final inning, got Zach Macke to ground-out to third for the second out before Kenny Delaquila drove in the tying run with a double.
Raiders coach Brad Romme said the draw didn’t provide his players with much, for now.
“It’s frustrating to play that long and play that good and have it end in a tie,” Romme said, “but you’ve gotta think by the end of the season that’s gonna come back and be a positive for us — playing in a tie game that many innings.”
Stuever, who along with Willoughby scored in a three-hit first inning, said the tie provided no satisfaction.
“We thought we had the bats going,” Stuever said of the opening frame, “and they kind of went dead.”
That was an apt description for the Bullets’ bats, too, most of the game. Except they caught fire in the bottom of the second, with five straight hits and four runs off of Lawrence starter Brandon Bell.
“Bell’s a good pitcher, and he throws hard,” Stuever said, “so they’re gonna hit (the pitches) hard. Other than that second inning, our pitchers really battled.”
Lawrence’s pitching staff provided one of the few positives from the stalemate, Romme added. The Raiders held the Bullets’ first four batters — Hoegerl, Macke, Delaquila and Isaiah Campbell — to a combined 3-for-23 morning. Bell, who struck out the side in the first, only allowed one more hit after the second inning. Sam Hearnen entered in relief in the sixth and pitched six scoreless innings, while walking three, allowing two hits and striking out one batter. Briggs Fish pitched out of a jam in his one inning of relief, in the 12th.
The Raiders also found offensive production from the bottom of the lineup, where Ryan Stagg went 2-for-4, with two walks and an RBI ground-out in the eight hole. Even that couldn’t break the deadlock.
“I felt great driving in a run and contributing to the team,” Stagg said. “I wish I could’ve done more and we won the game.”
The Raiders will play at 3:30 p.m. today at Free State High, against the Wichita Sluggers.
Lawrence Raiders 6, Kansas City Bullets 6 (13 innings)
Lawrence 201 000 200 000 1 — 6 13 0
KC 040 100 000 000 1 — 6 10 1
2B — Adam Rea, Lawrence; Riley Landuyt, Isaiah Campbell, KC. 3B — CJ Stuever, Lawrence; Tyler Lockler, Austin Hoegerl, KC.
Raiders highlights — Stuever, 2-for-5, 2 R; Lee McMahon, 2-for-5, RBI; Adam Rea, 2-for-5, RBI;.Ryan Stagg, 2-for-4, RBI; Shane Willoughby, 2-for-6, 2 R; Kieran Severa, 1-for-5, RBI, R; Jacob Seratte, 1-for-5; Sam Hearnen, 6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 3 BB, K.