Exciting finish boosts Ellis to state
By NICK McQUEEN
Some might call it luck. Some might call it good coaching.
It doesn't really matter what it's called. The Ellis Class AA Legion baseball team will take it.
In a thriller Saturday in Goodland, Ellis came back from a 2-0 deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning with a series of amazing events, earned a 3-2 victory, and is headed to the AA state tournament in Pratt.
Action for Ellis begins with a 6:30 p.m. game Wednesday against Rock Creek/Westmoreland.
"It was just very exciting," Ellis coach Casey McCoy said of the victory against Colby, a team they had lost to earlier in the tourney, but came back and beat two times in a row. "I told them there would be no better feeling than to make a comeback run right here, and pack our bags for Pratt.
"They got all fired up."
Ellis' first batter popped up for an out, but a walk to Cadyn McCoy, and a single up the middle by Nathan Frame, and Ellis was in business. And with two outs, McCoy and Frame had a double steal, and the Colby pitcher hit two straight batters to score Ellis' first run of the ball game.
Then, Nathan Frame stole home to tie it with two outs. Conner Frame, pinch-running for Chase Rutherford, who earlier got hit by a pitch to load the bases, got caught in a rundown between first and home, but Colby did not have a player covering home plate behind the catcher.
"(Conner Frame) kind of got stuck in a pickle, and I noticed there was no one there," coach McCoy said. "I was hollering as loud as I could 'All the way home.'
"The third baseman bobbled and made a throw."
But the catcher was too far down the line, and Conner Frame scored, spawning a dog pile for Ellis and its fans.
"Everyone charged, and before I knew it, even Goodland people were celebrating with us," coach McCoy said. "It was a big pile."
Now, Ellis looks to make the same noise at the state tourney, where it qualified last year, but finished 0-2.
Ellis is 19-7, and has five batters at .300 or better. Cadyn McCoy leads the offensive charge with a .433 average, and the team's two home runs. He has recorded a team-high 29 hits with 26 runs scored (second on the team) and four doubles. Scott Pfeifer and Cole Pfeifer, a Kansas Wesleyan University signee, average .386 and .371, respectively, with Frame averaging .348. Ellis also gets help from other communities during the summer. Koltyn Ratliff, Trevor Hawkins and Dylon Winter are from Ness City and the Frames, brothers Nathan and Conner, are from Kinsley.
Ellis' normal nine are all at .226 or better.
"We basically get on any way we can," coach McCoy said. "And we run the bases well."
Ellis also boasts a deep pitching staff, with all but three who have seen time on the mound. McCoy said Brandon Bollig has probably been the top pitcher, along with Cole Pfeifer. No pitcher has thrown in more than five games, though.
Of Ellis' seven losses, two were to the Hays Monarchs, another state qualifier.