PITTSBURG – Chanute High School won its second baseball game of the year in extra innings at Jaycee Ballpark in Pittsburg Tuesday evening.
With the game tied at 8, Chanute’s freshman first baseman Lars Koester leveled a two-run triple to score Rhett Smith and his brother, junior shortstop and pitcher Kam Koester to make the score 10-8 Chanute over Pittsburg in the top of the eighth. Then freshman third baseman Brax Peter singled to center, scoring senior right fielder Caden Schwegman in the top of the eighth, cementing the final score of 11-8 after closer Kam Koester pitched a strikeout and two groundouts to end the game in the bottom of the eighth.
“I got (a) fastball right off the bat – got down 0-1. So I was expecting off-speed and just waited back and hammered it,” Lars Koester said. “It feels great – always love to see it. ... I saw a lot of early off-speed. And just when you see it a lot, you just have to be able to jump on it. That’s what I did.”
Lars Koester went 3 for 4 with four RBIs, while Kam Koester hit 2 for 3 with three RBIs. Senior left fielder Aaron Roberton went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
Also contributing to the 12-hit day for the Blue Comets was sophomore centerfielder Ty Leedy (2 for 4), sophomore catcher Bryan Jacket (1 for 5), Peter (1 for 2), and freshman second baseman Rhett Smith (1 for 3).
CHS senior starting pitcher Blake Atwood struck out one, walked none, and allowed three earned runs and 11 hits in 5 innings. Sophomore middle reliever Parker Manly walked two and allowed three earned runs and two hits in 1 inning. Kam Koester as a reliever struck out one and didn’t allow any earned runs and two hits in 2 innings.
“With the pitch count rules the way they are right now, and it being early in the season, we knew that this was kind of an off-day in which Kam could throw a few, but if he didn’t have to, great,” CHS head coach Kurt Sizemore said. “Blake Atwood did an incredible job. ... I believe five innings right off the bat... And then (Parker), his pitch count got up and we didn’t want to get too high with him. But Kam came in – nails. And the defense behind him did work. The mental toughness that our guys showed today was just incredible.”
Chanute was actually down 3-1. But in the top of the third Smith singled on a line drive to left field and scored Peter to make the score 3-2 Pitt. The Blue Comets took the lead after Kam Koester doubled on a line drive to left, bringing home Robertson, which made it 5-3 Chanute.
Expanding the lead in the top of the fifth was Robertson, who tripled to center to score Peter once more.
In the top of the sixth, Lars Koester singled to center and scored Leedy and Kam Koester scored on an infield error by Pitt.
Pitt’s Jackson Turnbull hit a three-run homerun in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 8.
But Chanute kept their composure in extra innings.
“It just seems like every time that they scored, almost every time in the bottom of the inning, we came back with an answer,” Sizemore said. “As I said earlier, the mental toughness that they showed today was just spot on – so pleasurable to see that. ... We had some timely two-out hits. And at the same time, we had some timely pitches with two outs. They had a lot of runners on. If you look at their scoreboard, they had 13 hits to our nine. We did great getting in and out of trouble all day. Our pitchers did a really good job of pitching with runners on base because multiple times they had the lead-off on.”
Chanute (2-0, 1-0) will next play Iola Friday on the road at 4:30 pm.