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Falcons Blank Millard North for 1st Slam Title in 25 Years

Pat StrathmanJuly 8, 2018

The Salina Falcons surpassed their win total from 2017 before their toughest tournament of the regular season.

Check off another box on the already impressive list.

Pitchers Ethan Kickhaefer and Seth Catania combined for a three-hitter, Brayden Pavey and Cason Long drove in runs, and the Salina Falcons shut out the Millard North SR’s 2-0 for the first Kansas Grand Slam championship in 25 years. Salina won the first three titles in the 28-year history, earning its last crown in 1993.

Kickhaefer was nails on the mound in the first six frames. “Kick” wasn’t invincible, walking four North batters, but he locked down the offensive attack when it mattered most. Millard North had seven runners in scoring position, but failed to plate one.

Millard started the final inning by putting its first batter on first, following Salina’s third error of the night. Catania entered the match and forced a grounder, pop fly and recorded a strikeout to earn the save.

Salina had no issues placing runners in prime position to score, getting six to second base or farther. The Falcons broke through the wall in the fourth, when Kickhaefer singled to open the period. After a sacrifice bunt by Brady McAfee and a wild pitch, Kickhaefer scored off Pavey’s single with two outs. Long provided the insurance run in the sixth with a single.

Pavey finished 2-for-3 while Long was 1-for-3 and Kickhaefer was 1-for-4. The two-headed monster on the mound combined for Salina’s 10th shutout of the season.

Salina is 25-2 with few games remaining.

Semifinals – Salina 13, Newton 3

After falling to Newton in pool play, the Falcons made sure to sink the Knights early, plating 10 in the first two frames. Ben Driver was 3-for-3 with three RBI and two runs. Cason Long and Brady McAfee were a combined 4-for-4 with four RBI. Brogen Richardson and Zach Farmer recorded RBI hits.

Pool play – Newton 4, Salina 3

Salina gave up two runs in the first and couldn’t recover. Salina had a runner on third with two down in the seventh, but failed to tie the game. Layne Haddock was 1-for-3 with a RBI. Ryan Dix recorded a RBI. Ben Driver and Ethan Kickhaefer were 2-for-3 each.

Pool play – Salina 9, Wichita Kings 0

Cade Sterrett went the distance, allowing just four hits with three strikeouts. Ben Driver was a scorching 4-for-4 with a RBI and two runs. Layne Haddock and Brogen Richardson had two RBI each. Ryan Dix, Brady McAfee, Brayden Pavey and Cason Long each drove in a run.

Pool play – Salina 10, Capital Mudcats 0

Salina ended the game with a five-run fourth innings. Ryan Dix had a five-RBI day, going 2-for-3 with two runs. Brady McAfee was 1-for-3 with two RBI. Layne Haddock, Ethan Kickhaefer and Ben Drove all drove in runs.

Wednesday, July 4

TimeDean EvansJames Matson
10:0017U – Marion vs Wichita Aviators17U – Salina Hawks vs Topeka Scrappers 1
Winner – Topeka, 11-4
12:1519U – Newton vs Wichita Kings
Winner – Newton, 9-5 
19U – Lawrence Next Level vs Next Level Manhattan
Winner – Lawrence, 12-11
2:3017U – Topeka Scrappers 1 vs Clay Center
Winner – Clay Center, 4-0
17U – Topeka Scrappers 2 vs Marion
Winner – Topeka, 13-8
4:4517U – Salina Hawks vs Winfield Warriors
Winner – Winfield 14-5
17U – Millard North vs Wichita Aviators
Winner – Millard North, 16-1
7:0019U – Salina Falcons vs Capital Mudcats
Winner – Salina, 10-0
19U – Lawrence Next Level vs Millard North
Winner – Millard North, 11-3

Thursday, July 5

TimeDean EvansJames Matson
10:0017U – Marion vs Millard North
Winner – Millard North, 11-3
17U – Winfield Warriors vs Clay Center
Winner – Winfield 2-1
12:1519U – Andover Central vs Next Level Manhattan
Winner – Andover Central, 5-4
19U – Capital Mudcats vs Newton
Winner – Newton, 11-4
2:3017U – Winfield Warriors vs Topeka Scrappers 1
Winner – Winfield, 8-5
19U – Salina Falcons vs Wichita Kings
Winner – Salina, 9-0
4:4517U – Topeka Scrappers 2 vs Wichita Aviators
Winner – Topeka Scrappers, 14-6
17U – Salina Hawks vs Clay Center
Winner – Clay Center, 7-6
7:0019U – Newton vs Salina Falcons
Winner – Newton, 4-3
19U – Next Level Manhattan vs Millard North
Winner – Millard North, 12-2

Friday, July 6

TimeDean EvansJames Matson
4:0019U – Lawrence Next Level vs Andover Central
Winner – Lawrence, 12-1
19U – Andover Central vs Millard North
Winner – Millard, 11-1
17U – Millard North vs Topeka Scrappers 2
Winner – Millard, 15-0
17U – Quarterfinals: Clay Center vs Marion
Winner – Marion, 8-3
17U – Quarterfinals: Topeka Scrappers 2 vs 1
Winner – Topeka 1, 14-0
11:0019U – Quarterfinals: Wichita Kings vs Andover Central
Winner – Wichita, 10-0
12:0019U – Quarterfinals: Lawrence Next Level vs Newton
Winner – Newton 12-10

Saturday, July 7

TimeDean EvansJames Matson
10:0019U – Capital Mudcats vs Next Level Manhattan
Winner – Capital, 9-4
17U – Salina Hawks vs Wichita Aviators
Winner – Salina, 11-3
12:0017U – Semifinals: Winfield Warriors vs Topeka Scrappers 1
Winner – Winfield, 9-2
17U – Semifinals: Millard North JR’s vs Wichita Kings
Winner – Millard, 8-1
2:0019U – Semifinals: Salina Falcons vs Newton
Winner – Salina, 13-3
19U – Semifinals: Millard North SR’s vs Wichita Kings
Winner – Millard, 8-1
19U – Championship: Millard North SR’s vs Salina Falcons
Winner – Salina, 2-0
17U – Championship: Millard North JR’s vs Winfield Warriors
Winner – Millard, 9-2

(photo from Salina Journal)

Copyright © Meridian Media, 2022. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Meridian Media’s express consent.



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