Cloud County splits Thursday doubleheader against MCC-Longview

Cloud County sophomore Tucker Catlett was 3-for-3 with a steal of home base in Game Two of Thursday's doubleheader (By Dr. Todd Leif)
Cloud County sophomore Tucker Catlett was 3-for-3 with a steal of home base in Game Two of Thursday's doubleheader (By Dr. Todd Leif)

CONCORDIA, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College baseball team earned a split of Thursday's non-conference doubleheader against Metropolitan Community College-Longview, rebounding from an ugly 13-6 loss in Game One to cruise to a 12-2 final in Game Two.

"I didn't like the way we played early in the day or how we approached (Game One). We didn't pitch well, field well or hit well. But over the course of a long season, you're going to have games like that," said Cloud County head coach, Eric Gilliland. "The important thing is to learn from them and I felt we turned around and played one of our better games in Game Two."

Cloud County (20-15 overall, 12-8 KJCCC) pounced on the Lakers early and often in Game Two as the T-Birds batted around in what was a four-run first inning.

Sophomore sluggers Erik Sabrowski and Ryan Krolikowski hit back-to-back run scoring doubles, and sophomore shortstop Tucker Catlett added an RBI single to get the scoring underway.

Sabrowski, who was 1-for-3 with 3 RBI, and Krolikowski (3-for-4, 3 RBI) each drove in another run in the second inning to stake Cloud County freshman left-hander Jackson Dietel a 6-0 lead.

Dietel moved to 5-3 on the season and picked up his second straight victory with another strong start on Thursday. He limited MCC-Longview to two runs on four hits while striking out three in his six innings of work.

"He's pitching well and doing what he does well," Gilliland said of Dietel, who threw a complete game against Colby last Thursday. "He competes as hard as anybody and we're happy with where he's at right now."

The T-Birds' offense kept tacking on, and in creative fashion, as they executed the early steal play in the third inning. Sophomore outfielder Ryan Simons broke from first base early, drawing the attention and a throw from the MCC-Longview pitcher to allow Catlett, who was at third base, to swipe home.

Cloud County broke the game open with a three-run fourth inning on another RBI double by Krolikowski, a fielder's choice from Spencer Rankin, and a double by sophomore Preston Allerheiligen.

Catlett, Krolikowski and sophomore outfielder Matt Bondarchuk all recorded three hits in Game Two to pace the T-Birds' lineup.

The victory was a satisfying end to a beautiful afternoon in Concordia after a tough performance in Game One's 13-6 loss for the T-Birds.

Freshman outfielder Ed Scott continued to provide quality production for the T-Birds as he hit his second home run of the season in Game One, and Sabrowski was 2-for-3 with three more RBI in the opener to provide some highlights.

"Ed has done well since we've put him in and it's not just the hits that stand out to me," Gilliland said. "He puts together good at-bats. He does an excellent job turning the lineup over for us in the No. 9 hole."

On the mound, Sabrowski had a mixed day as he allowed four runs, three earned, on five hits; two of which were balls lost in the sun in the outfield.

The left-hander left with a no-decision, but did strike out five batters during his three innings of work to give him sole possession of the school record for strikeouts in a single season with 83.

Sabrowski's mark tops the previous record of 78 by Emilio Foden set in 2015. With at least 14 games left in the 2018 season, and the T-Birds challenging for a spot at the top of the KJCCC West standings, Sabrowski is in prime position to pad his lead in that category.

"It's pretty incredible. Erik has put together a heck of a year so far, but I know he's not satisfied and we're not satisfied with where we're at now," Gilliland said. "Hopefully he can help carry us into the postseason and finish the season well."

Up next for the T-Birds will be another non-conference game against a storied Iowa Western Community College program, which is currently 26-5 overall and ranked No. 16 in the country.

The T-Birds and Reivers will square off in a single, nine-inning contest at 2 p.m. on Tuesday in Council Bluffs.

"We're going to be playing one of the best teams in the country. But if you go play baseball the right way, anybody can beat anybody," Gilliland said. "So, we want to go in, not pay attention to who we're playing and just play the game one pitch at a time and let the result happen because if you get caught up with the hoopla of their three national championships, you don't play as well as you can. We'll go out, play hard and see what happens at the end of the day."