The Atchison Junior A’s can’t quite figure out Doniphan County.
For the fourth and fifth times this season, the A’s played DC and for the fourth and fifth times, the A’s lost to DC. In games played against other teams, Atchison is 10-3 on the season, but 0-5 against Doniphan.
The visitors from Wathena won Game 1 6-0 behind a masterful pitching performance by Levi Watts, then went on to win Game 2 16-6.
Watts was dominant from the beginning, striking out Atchison’s first three batters. The A’s Abe Siebenmorgen was strong on his own part, though, battling through a jam in the first by striking out three batters, two of which came with runners on second and third.
Siebenmorgen breezed through the second, as did Watts. Doniphan finally scratched a few runs across the plate in the third.
Tyler Franken singled to lead off the inning and Dawson Butts was hit by a pitch. Bryson Kirkland launched a double to score both runners. Kirkland came around to score later in the inning and DC went up 3-0.
Watts went back to work in the bottom of the third. After the first runner reached on an error, he struck out the next three batters.
Siebenmorgen pitched a scoreless fourth before Atchison put together its best chance at a rally against Watts in the bottom of the inning.
With one out, Siebenmorgen lofted a fly ball to shallow left field that was misplayed, but he was forced out at second on a ground ball by Noah Cummins. Cummins advanced to second base on a wild pitch, then stole third. Levi Navinskey drew a walk and stole second to put two runners in scoring position, but Watts forced a ground out to get out of the inning unscathed.
Doniphan padded its lead with a run in the fifth and two more in the seventh. Atchison never again had a base runner, as Watts sat down the final 10 batters in order.
Watts finished with 10 strikeouts and one walk in seven innings. Siebenmorgen had a strong line as well, pitching five innings and recording eight strikeouts and three earned runs.
DC jumped on the A’s early in Game 2 and then put the game away in the middle innings. Franken and Butts doubled and singled, respectively, to open the game and both came around to score, giving Doniphan an early 2-0 lead.
Atchison answered in the bottom of the second. Parker Mispagel singled and Colby Weishaar walked. Both scored when Jack Kocour singled to tie the game 2-2 after two innings.
The tie was short-lived.
Doniphan scored four times in the third and six more in the fourth, capping off the onslaught with four more runs in the fifth and final inning.
Franken and Butts again led the charge in the third, knocking two singles before Kirkland and Watts reached on an error and fielder’s choice. All four came around to score.
Franken led off the fourth with a single, followed by a walk by Butts, a single by Kirkland and an error that allowed Watts to reach. After a strikeout, the next four batters walked to help push across six runs in the frame.
Butts and Kirkland both singled again in the fifth to kick start the final DC rally.
Atchison’s offense scored in four of the five innings in Game 2, but couldn’t keep up with Doniphan. Siebenmorgen was hit by a pitch and scored in the third to make it 6-3 after three.
Korrighan Liggett reached on an error in the fourth and scored on Kocour’s double. Kocour was brought in when Tate Vowels doubled.
Navinskey worked a walk in the fifth and stole second base. He scored on Colten Kocour’s single, but the A’s lost 16-6.
Vowels pitched the first inning of Game 2 after pitching the final two frames of the first game. Noah Cummins went two-plus innings, giving up six earned runs. He was followed by Navinskey and Jack Kocour.
For Doniphan, Austin Budine pitched the first four innings and gave up five runs. Zeb Speer closed the game out, allowing one run in the fifth.
Atchison was scheduled to play at Sabetha on Wednesday, July 6, but the doubleheader was canceled. Instead, the A’s will gear up for the Zone Tournament.
The A’s will play in the Zone hosted by Marysville with a great chance to advance to state. While the bracket has just three teams – Atchison, Marysville and Doniphan County – the top two teams advance to the state tournament in Great Bend.
Atchison will play Marysville at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 11. The winner will play DC at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 12. The winner of the second game advances to state. The loser will play the loser of the first game for the second state spot.