Step one is complete. Now, the Atchison Junior A’s just need to do something they haven’t done all season – beat Doniphan County.
The A’s beat Marysville 10-2 in six innings on Tuesday night, setting up a showdown with DC on Wednesday for a trip to the American Legion A State Tournament. Wednesday’s winner will make the trip to Great Bend.
There is some breathing room, though. The loser of Wednesday’s contest between Atchison and DC will play Marysville later that night, with the winner of that game also qualifying for Great Bend.
The A’s started off the zone tournament with Tuesday’s win against Marysville, while DC had a bye to the second round.
Ayden Black got the start on the mound for Atchison, pitching six innings and giving up just two runs. Head Coach Chuck Trotter said Black didn’t pick up many strikeouts, but the Atchison defense was solid behind the pitcher.
Noah Cummins caught a line drive and then picked the Marysville runner off of first to turn a double play to keep the A’s on the right side of things.
“The momentum was turning a little bit, so that was a big play,” Trotter said.
Offensively, the A’s took advantage of Marysville’s shaky pitching. Trotter said his team drew several walks and Tate Smith and Abe Siebenmorgen cashed in with doubles.
“Really, the difference was pitching,” Trotter said. “Our game plan was to just throw one guy. They had to go through two or three pitchers. We’ve got four or five pitchers left for the next games.”
Atchison (11-8) will take on DC for the sixth time this season – Doniphan has won all five of the previous contests.
“Nothing’s worked so far, so we need to change the game plan,” Trotter said. “Try to do something a little different.”
Even though the A’s have a safety net if they lose to DC, the three-team bracket sets up a strange possible scenario. Despite beating Marysville on Tuesday, Atchison could be shut out of the state tournament with losses to DC and Marysville on Wednesday, even though that would give Marysville just a 1-1 record in the zone.
Either way, the A’s have two chances to get the job done Wednesday.