WICHITA — Clayton Chadwick says he doesn’t feel anything different when the bases are loaded, but two grand slams in three days may tell a different story.
Chadwick blasted two home runs Friday night at Eck Stadium to help lead the Hutchinson Monarchs to an 11-3 run-rule victory over the Hays Larks in an elimination game at the NBC World Series.
Chadwick, who hit a grand slam against the Kansas City All-Stars on Wednesday, hit another grand slam in part of a seven-run sixth inning for the Monarchs that blew a competitive game wide open.
Chadwick also hit a solo home run in the third to give the Monarchs their first run. For the game, Chadwick went 3 for 4 with five RBIs.
"My teammates do a good job of getting on in front of me and I know I have a job to do so I just try to do my job," Chadwick said. "If it weren’t for my teammates getting on, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do."
Chadwick joins Taylor Barber as the only other Monarch to hit nine home runs in a season. But Chadwick is more than just a star at the plate.
In the bottom of the eighth with runners on the corner, Chadwick successfully stole home to trigger the mercy rule and end the game. According to Chadwick, he did not receive a signal to steal.
"I left a little early. It was something a little risky, but it worked out," Chadwick said.
Hutchinson starter Jake Hamilton, a Wichita State pitcher, got off to a rough start in his home stadium, but rebounded well.
Hays’ Corbin Truslow hit a two-run home run in the first inning, and Hamilton responded by throwing four consecutive scoreless innings.
"It’s special to have six Wichita State pitchers and to play on this field," Hutchinson manager Deron McCue said. "I’m going to try to use them to the best of my ability."
After scoring two runs in the first, Hays went scoreless until the seventh inning. By then, Hutchinson had a commanding lead.
"We let the sixth inning get out of control," Hays manger Frank Leo said. "We had a couple bad defensive decisions, we walked guys. . . it just snow-balled out of control. It wasn’t a very clean inning, and against a very good ball club, you can’t do that."
There are now four teams remaining at the World Series: Hutchinson, the Houston Express, the Santa Barbara Foresters, and the Cheney Diamond Dawgs.
Hutchinson moves on to play the Houston Express Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. The Monarchs will start Wichita State pitcher Ryan Stuempfig, who is typically a reliever, against the Express.
"It’s a little out of the ordinary, but he’s the most rested pitcher we have right now," McCue said. "We’re going to try something different tomorrow."
Hays ends its season with a 22-10 record. Leo will remember the uncertainty of the season and the gratitude he felt being able to play baseball this summer.
"It wasn’t easy, there was a lot of stress. The easiest part of this summer was when we crossed the white line and were able to play the game," Leo said. "With COVID-19, our number one priority was keeping the kids safe, and we did that."