Baseball News Archive 2016-2017

Big fifth inning leads Cavs past Larks

Larks baseball traveled east to Overland Park and lost to the #17 Johnson Community College Cavaliers 12-1 on Tuesday afternoon at JCCC baseball complex. Johnson County scored six runs in the fifth inning to go ahead 9-0 and win comfortably.

An RBI single in the first and one in the second gave JCCC an early advantage over the Larks. The Cavaliers had 19 hits on the day compared to only four hits for the Larks. Hesston College committed 3 errors.

Sophomore Drake Sturgeon (Newton, Kan.) provided Hesston’s lone run in the top of the sixth inning. Redshirt sophomore Carter Hohn from Overland Park was the starting pitcher and took the loss for the Larks. Cavaliers pitcher B. Kinkaid went five innings striking out nine Larks to pick up the win on the mound for Johnson County.

Next – baseball (8-18) takes a week off for spring break before returning to the Kansas City area for a weekend series (March 24-25) with Metropolitan Community College-Longview. First pitch will be at 1 p.m.

Cougars claw Larks

The Hesston College baseball team lost to Barton Community College Cougars 11-6 on Wednesday evening at Oswald Field at Hesston College. The game, originally scheduled for Tuesday, was pushed back to Wednesday due to weather.

The Cougars jumped out in front 4-0 in the top of the first inning and never looked back. Barton added a run in the second and two runs in the third to take an 7-0 lead. The Larks committed five errors on the night allowing the Cougars to capitalize Hesston’s miscues. ”Pitching and defense really let us down today. I thought the offensive group did a good job. Pietro Oliva and Drew Aldana really hit well, but it wasn’t enough to overcome our mistakes,” Head Coach Kyle Howell said.

Freshman DH Jeremy Deckinger (Wichita, Kan.) knocked in three runs and freshman 3B Pietro Olivia (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) was 3/4 at the plate adding two RBI in the loss to the Cougars. Freshman pitcher Harry Park (Frisco, Texas) took the loss for the Larks on the mound.

Next up: Hesston College (8-17) will welcome Northern Oklahoma College- Tonkawa for a doubleheader on Friday, March 10. First pitch from Oswald Field will be at 4 p.m. Second game is expected to begin around 6 p.m.

Baseball swept by Broncos

The Hesston College baseball team was swept in a four-game series by the host New Mexico Military Institute Broncos over the weekend in Roswell, New Mexico.

On Saturday the Larks fell 6-1 in the opening game and 9-1 in game two. On Sunday, after getting shutout 10-0, the Larks got the bats going in the final game putting up nine runs, giving the team some momentum heading back home for the Barton game. It wasn’t quite enough as New Mexico Military won 13-9.

“It was a pretty disappointing weekend for us. We didn’t put complete games together. Jordan Gesling (soph., Lennox, S.D.) continues to pitch well, and freshman Dallas Johnson (Warrenton, Mo.) is having a good freshman year at the plate,” Head Coach Kyle Howell commented. “New Mexico Military is a very good team, coming off a regional appearance in 2016 where they knocked off the #1 team in the country. This was a great opportunity for us.”

The Larks (8-16) will regroup and return home to play the Barton Community College Cougars in a one-game set. First pitch from Oswald Field will be at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8.

Baseball splits weekend series with Pratt

Saturday at Oswald Field, Hesston College

In game one, the Larks got on the board with a second inning RBI to tie things at 1-1 after red shirt freshman catcher Drew Aldana (El Paso, Texas) led things off with a single. 

The Beavers scored four runs in the third inning to take a 5-1 lead then Larks sophomore pitcher Jordan Gesling (Lennox, S.D.) pitched a quick 1-2-3 top of the fourth. Hesston tacked on a run in the fourth inning to make it 5-2, before Pratt tallied two runs each in the fifth and sixth inning to take a comfortable 9-2 lead. The Beavers notched four more runs in the final inning to go on to win 13-2.

Red shirt freshman pitcher Carter Hohn (Overland Park, Kan.) pitched a one hitter, but the Larks came up short in a 2-0 loss in the second game vs. the Beavers. Pratt scored in the third inning and again on a Larks error in the seventh. Hesston was unable to get the bats going and provide support for a strong pitching performance from Hohn.

Sunday at Pratt Community College

A 10-run fourth inning was enough for the Larks as they outlasted the Beavers 14-5 to take game one in Pratt. 

Freshman pitcher Jacob Harris (El Paso, Texas) took the mound in game two Sunday. The Beavers scored a pair of runs in the second inning to go up 2-0. The Larks loaded the bases in the fourth inning but only plated one runner. They made up for it in the fifth inning scoring four runs to race ahead 5-2. Pitcher Dylan Schoknecht (Woodstock, Ga.) came on in the sixth to relieve Harris. The Beavers cut the lead to 5-4 with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ben Van Diest put Pratt CC on top 6-5 with a 2-run home run to right field.

Hesston College went back in front benefiting from two Pratt errors to take a 7-6 lead in the top half of the seventh inning. Those runs proved to be the difference as the Larks swept the Sunday series and evened up the four-game weekend tilt with the Beavers.

“I was really proud of the way our guys responded after dropping two games at home,” Head Coach Kyle Howell commented. “Anytime you can win multiple games on the road it’s something you have to feel great about. I thought our rotation (Gesling, Hohn, Law, Harris) did a tremendous job putting out team in a position to win this weekend. We saw contributions from a ton of guys.”

The Larks improve to 7-9 overall and will have the week off before returning to Oswald field. Next – Saturday, February 25, double header vs. Southwestern Iowa community College. First pitch is set for noon.

Larks sweep Bethany College

Game 1 Friday @ Oswald Field

Friday’s home opener started on a somber note as Hesston players and coaches and the campus community remembered 2016 Lark infielder Justin Valazquez with a ceremonial first pitch. Vivian Mora, Justin’s aunt, threw the first pitch to Velazquez’s boyhood and college teammate Jayro Rivera. Velazquez, a freshman on last year’s team, passed away on the baseball field, playing the game he loved in his native Puerto Rico, during the summer of 2016.

Freshman Joel Ogletree (Norwood, Mo.) hit a 2-run double to left field, and Drake Sturgeon (Newton, Kan.) connected on a sacrifice fly as the Larks scored all three of their runs in the bottom of the first inning to defeat the Bethany College Swedes JV 3-0.

Pitcher Jacob Harris, a freshman from El Paso, Texas, got the start for the Larks and recorded the win. Redshirt freshman Carter Hohn (Overland Park, Kan.) came into the game in the 4th inning and picked up the first save of the year, including a quick 1-2-3 top of the 7th to retire the Swedes.

Game 2

Bethany College took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. The Swedes tacked on a couple more runs in the top of the third inning before the Larks began to rally. A seven-run fourth inning, all with two outs, saw Hesston College surge in front 7-3. The Larks added an insurance run in the bottom of sixth to win 8-3. Sophomore pitcher Jordan Gesling (Lennox, S.D.) picked up the win for Hesston College.

Game 3 Saturday @ Oswald Field

With Hesston College leading 4-0 after three innings, the Swedes scored five in the 5th inning to pull ahead. The Larks responded with five runs in the bottom half, pushing the lead to 9-5. Bethany added three runs in the 8th to make things interesting, but the Larks prevailed 9-8, securing the series win. Jonathan Law recorded the win and Sam Carillo got a save. Both are sophomores from El Paso, Texas.

Game 4

Freshman outfielder Jayden Banks (Lawton, Okla.) connected on a clutch home run, the first of his collegiate career, to put the Larks up 8-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Hesston tacked on a final run to win 9-3 and complete the four-game sweep of the Swedes JV. It was a solid series for the Larks. Hesston College is back to .500 (5-5) before going back on the road.

“It was great to see contributions from a ton of guys this weekend,” Head Coach Kyle Howell commented. “Our offensive coaches (Spitz, Dawson, Seltzer) really did a great job with our kids this week. Hopefully this momentum will carry forward into a great week in Oklahoma.”

Up Next: Wednesday, February 15, the Larks travel south to take on Northern Oklahoma College-Enid in a two-game set. First pitch from David Allen Memorial Ballpark will be at 1 p.m. Game two against the Jets will start at 3:30 p.m.

Baseball drops two in Wichita

Hesston College baseball dropped both games to the Independence (Kan.) Community College Pirates 13-5 and 3-1 on Tuesday afternoon at McCarthy Field in Wichita. The doubleheader, originally scheduled to be played in Independence, was moved to Newman University.

In game one, the Pirates took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning, and added two more in the third to take a 4-0 lead. Hesston College got on the board with a run in the bottom of the fourth, and three runs in the fifth inning to pull within 6-4. Independence responded with a quick four runs to go up 10-4. The Larks loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth inning but were only able to plate one runner and trailed 10-5 heading into the seventh. The Pirates scored a few insurance runs in the seventh inning to defeat the Larks 13-5.

A pitchers duel, game two went to Independence 3-1. Hesston dropped to 1-5 on the early season and will look to get back in the win column this weekend. Baseball will return to Hesston for a home opening weekend four-game series Friday and Saturday vs. Bethany College JV. First pitch vs. the Swedes from Oswald Field will be 3 p.m. Friday. Saturday games start at noon.

Larks baseball opens season in Texas

The Hesston College baseball team opened up their 2017 campaign in Dallas, Texas, going 1-3 against the Richland Community College Thunderducks last weekend.

The Larks started well in game one Friday afternoon, as the offense exploded with 16 runs defeating Richland CC 16-14 in extra innings. Freshman infielder Jacques Palmer (Arlington, Texas) went 4-6 at the plate and freshman pitcher Dylan Schoknecht (Woodstock, Ga.) recorded the first win of the season for Hesston College. In the second game, the Thunderducks wore down the Larks winning 7-2 to split the Friday series 1-1. Richland got the best of the Larks Saturday taking both games, 7-3 and 8-3, as the Thunderducks grabbed early inning leads in both games. Andrew Aldana (El Paso, Texas) was mentioned by coach Howell as one of the top performers. “He played really well.” Aldana is expected to start for the Larks behind the plate this season.

“Offensively I thought we were good, and gave ourselves a chance to win,” Howell commented. One area the coaching staff will focus on in the coming weeks is overall command from the pitchers. “We struggled to throw strikes all weekend. We have to pitch better. No excuses.”

Richland, a school the Larks saw four times last year (going an identical 1-3), looks to be a strong team in 2017. “Richland is an improved team from 2016 and I think we are too but we’ve got to be a more complete team going forward.”

Up next – Hesston College baseball will hit the road to Wichita for a neutral site double header on Tuesday, February 7, with the Independence (Kan.) Community College Pirates. First pitch from McCarthy Field at Newman University will be at 1 p.m.

Larks baseball player nationally recognized

Left to right – Jake Salinas, Jonathan Law, Andrew Aldana, Jacob Harris, Pietro Oliva and Nelson Martinez

Hesston College sophomore Jonathan Law, an outfielder/RHP from El Paso, Texas, was recently named one of the top 150 MLB Junior College prospects in the U.S. by Perfect Game USA. Published Jan. 27, 2017 Brian Sakowski (Top 150 Junior College Prospects)

Law, (ranked #146) is new to the Larks baseball program and is expected to play a large role this spring, wearing the #21 jersey. “Jonathon is such a versatile player. He’s an instant impact on the mound as well as in the field.” Head Coach Kyle Howell said. “He’s a quiet kid, but a good fit and someone we are excited about joining our program.”

An early peek at a starting rotation suggests Law to see time on the mound and in the outfield, even some at third base this season for the Larks. “I have known Jonathan since he was 13 or 14 years old, so for me its incredibly rewarding seeing him get this recognition,” Howell added.

Law, one of many new faces joining the Hesston College baseball program this spring, has a tall ceiling and could be a real force on the field. “He clearly has a bright future ahead of him,” coach Howell remarked.

After two exhibitions in January (Friends University and Kansas Wesleyan) the Larks are eager to get the regular season going. Baseball will open the 2017 spring season this weekend with a trip to Dallas, Texas. The Larks, looking to improve on last year’s 21-36 record, will take on Richland College in their first series. Hesston College and the Thunderducks will match up in a four game set February 3 and 4. First pitch will be at noon from Richland College. Hesston College baseball will open their home schedule at Oswald Field on Friday, February 10, vs. Bethany College.

Baseball team sends 14 sophomores to the next level

Fourteen members of the 2015-16 Hesston College baseball program have signed letters-of- intent to continue their athletic careers at four-year schools. Next destinations for the group represent all three levels of NCAA, as well as NAIA programs.

The list includes:

NCAA – DI
Daulton Horton (Denton, Texas) – University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
Cody Widman (Olathe, Kan.) – University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
NCAA – DII
Collin Loutensock (West Valley, Utah) – Newman University (Wichita, Kan.)
Jake Shelby (McKinney, Texas) – Tarleton State University (Stephenville, Texas)
NCAA – DIII
AJ Chalupka (Flower Mound, Texas) – University of the Ozarks (Clarksville, Ark.)
Bryce Elder (Ottawa, Kan.) – University of the Ozarks (Clarksville, Ark.)
NAIA
Andrew Berry (Mulvane, Kan.) – University of Saint Mary (Leavenworth, Kan.)
Caleb Geary (Scottsbluff, Neb.) – Hastings (Neb.) College (Track)
Conner Gillihan (Spring Hill, Kan.) – Missouri Valley College (Marshall, Mo.)
Luis Marinez (Santo Domingo, D.R.) – Ecclesia College (Springdale, Ark.)
Hayden Pentecost (Wichita, Kan.) – Benedictine College (Atchison, Kan.)
Alex Perez (Justin, Texas) – Sterling (Kan.) College
Brandon Shoemaker (Tomball, Texas) – Bethany College (Lindsborg, Kan.)
Jimmy Yandell (Moore, Okla.) – Bethany College (Lindsborg, Kan.)

“I’m so proud that we have 14 student-athletes committed to attend four-year institutions to continue their academic and athletic careers,” said Hesston coach Kyle Howell. “This group will continue to make great strides both on and off the baseball field.”

Campus community mourns loss of student

The Hesston College campus community is mourning the untimely loss of student Justin Velazquez. Justin had just finished his freshman year at Hesston, where he was also a member of the baseball team. He passed away Saturday morning, June 4, while playing baseball in his hometown in Puerto Rico. Our prayers are with Justin’s family in the days and weeks to come.

Services planned

The funeral for Justin Velazquez will be on Friday, June 10, at 11 a.m. in a Mass at Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Church at Camp Alegre in Hatillo, P.R. There will be a tribute for Justin at his hometown baseball field in Barceloneta, P.R., at 1 p.m., following the service. The burial will happen immediately following the tribute at Barceloneta New Cemetery.

Cards and flowers can be sent to:
Vivian Mora/Justin Velazquez
Call Box 2020
Suite 201
Calle Pomarrosa #234 Parcelas Imbery
Barceloneta, PR 00617

The college will hold a service in Justin’s honor at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year.

Baseball season ends at districts

The Hesston College baseball team saw its 2016 season come to a close with a pair of losses (14-5 to Western Oklahoma State, 12-4 to Longview) at the May 19 district playoff. Hesston defeated Brown Mackie College (Salina, Kan.) in a best-of-five series to advance to the district level. The Larks finished 21-36 in coach Kyle Howell’s first season.

Seven Hesston players earned all-region recognition following the season, including Region VI Player of the Year Alex Perez (Justin, Texas) and Pitcher of the Year Collin Loutensock (West Valley, Utah). Howell was named Coach of the Year.

First-team selections include Larks’ centerfielder Perez, Loutensock, Bryce Elder (catcher – Ottawa, Kan.) infielders Andrew Berry (Mulvane, Kan.), Kyler Cox (Little River, Kan.) and Jake Shelby (McKinney, Texas).

Freshman pitcher JC Ortega (Spring, Texas) was an honorable mention selection.

Larks claim Region VI crown

The Hesston College baseball team captured the 2016 NJCAA Region VI title on Sunday, May 1, following a 8-7 win over Brown Mackie College (Salina, Kan.) in game four of the five-game series.

The Larks entered the day up 2-0 following a Saturday home sweep. BMC staved off elimination in game three with a walk-off home run, but the Larks rallied for the exciting game-four win. In the final game, Hesston built a 6-2 lead through four innings before BMC put a five-spot on the board in the bottom of the fifth, giving the Lions a 7-6 lead.

In the Hesston sixth, Bryce Elder (Ottawa, Kan.) and Charles Elam (Spring Hill, Kan.) reached base with consecutive walks. Alex Perez (Justin, Texas) then blasted an extra-base hit to the gap, scoring Elder to tie the game. Elam was thrown out at the plate, but Perez reached third on the play. Kyler Cox (Little River, Kan.) put the Larks ahead with a sacrifice fly to left.

Hesston closer Cody Widman (Olathe, Kan.) tossed two shutout innings to nail down the series. Widman struck out three, including the final batter.

Hesston Baseball advances to the district level, held May 19-21 in Missouri.

Sweep puts Hesston Baseball a win from Region VI title

The Hesston College baseball team saw its win streak reach six with a pair of post-season wins (5-2, 15-11) over Brown Mackie College (Salina, Kan.) on Saturday, April 30.

Collin Loutensock (West Valley, Utah) was dominant in game one, tossing a complete-game one-hitter and setting the tone for a big day for the Larks.

After a win in a marathon-like game two, Hesston Baseball enjoys a two-games-to-none lead in the best-of-five series that moves to Salina on Sunday, May 1.

Larks walk off with weekend series sweep

The Hesston College baseball team completed a four-game weekend sweep of Wentworth Military Academy (Lexington, Mo.) by taking two games on Sunday, April 24. The Larks won 10-3 in game one before a thrilling walk-off 5-4 win in extra innings in game two to improve Hesston to 18-33 on the year.

Kyler Cox (Little River, Kan.) went 2-for-3 with a run and three RBI in the opener. Bryce Elder (Ottawa, Kan.) scored two runs in a 1-for-3 day. Larks’ righty Brandon Shoemaker (Tomball, Texas) got the win on the mound with four and a third innings of work. Shoemaker yielded five hits and just one earned run while fanning two.

In the nightcap, Hesston put the finishing touches on a great weekend of baseball when Elder singled home the winning run in the eighth inning for a 5-4 win.

Tied at 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth, Shoemaker got the inning started with a single, followed two batters later by an Andrew Berry (Mulvane, Kan.) single that put runners on first and second and set the stage for Elder’s heroics.

On a 1-1 pitch, Elder singled to left that brought home the winning run. Cody Widman (Olathe, Kan.) tossed three shutout innings out of the pen to get the win. Widman struck out two and gave up just a pair of hits.

Hesston Baseball awaits a best-of-five series with Brown Mackie College (Salina, Kan.) that will determine this year’s NJCAA Region VI winner.

Larks sweep Wentworth behind pair of gems

The Hesston College baseball team picked up two wins (3-2, 1-0) over Wentworth Military Academy on Saturday, April 23. Although the double header went a combined 15 innings, just two Hesston pitchers toed the runner, as sophomore Collin Loutensock (West Valley, Utah) and freshman Matt Gregory (New Caney, Texas) each tossed complete games in the sweep.

In the opener, Loutensock scattered seven hits and three walks while striking out seven. Daulton Horton (Denton, Texas) went 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI. Leadoff hitter Alex Perez (Justin, Texas) continued his big year, scoring twice on a hit and a walk.

Gregory was dominant in the 8-inning nightcap, as the righty allowed just two hits and fanned nine. Perez added a double and a single in four at bats. Jake Shelby (McKinney, Texas) had three hits including a double.

TJ Flemming (Wichita, Kan.) singled with one out in the eighth and reached third via a stolen base and ground out to second. With two outs, freshman Justin Velazquez (Barceloneta, P.R.) singled in the winning run to secure the sweep.

The Larks improve to 16-33 on the year and look to take two more when they finish the weekend series with Wentworth on Sunday, April 24 at 1 p.m.