Red Demons steal 31 bases in sweep of Southeast

The Dodge City Red Demons baseball team took thievery to a new level Friday afternoon.

Dodge City baserunners stole 31 bases on the way to the doubleheader sweep of Wichita Southeast by scores of 10-0 and 12-2 at Demon Field.

The Red Demons broke two school records in the first game for an inning (11) and for a contest (18) in the five-inning run-rule victory over the Buffaloes. 

Dodge City followed that with another 13 thefts in the second game to complete the sweep by a six-inning run rule. The Demons were successful three times on double steals to get runs home.

"The stolen bases help us get into scoring position and get runs on the board," said Andrew Balderaz, who had five thefts on the day (three in the first and two in the second).

Nick Nelson also had five stolen bases (four in the first game) and said the Red Demons (8-1) were able to take advantage of the Southeast pitchers in both games of the twinbill.

"The catcher didn't have that good of an arm and their pitchers weren't throwing that hard," Nelson said. "It was where we had to take advantage."

Jackson Oldham, Eric Reid, Bryce Unruh and Colton Schulte had four stolen bases on the day, while Austin Weiser had three thefts.

Balderaz and Nelson were the winning pitchers in the games. Balderaz allowed four hits and two walks while striking out three in five innings to earn the shutout. Nelson came in relief and gave up only three hits in five innings, allowing three hits while striking out two.

"I was extremely pleased with the pitching of Andrew and Nick," said Dodge City head coach Daniel Rogers.

The Red Demons scored six in the third inning of the opener with only one hit. Nelson scored the first run on a double steal with Schulte, with Schulte scored on a fielders' choice by Balderaz. Balderaz scored on a double steal with Reid to make the score 3-0, before a balk, a wild pitch and a RBI single by Unruh completed the scoring.

Dodge City scored four more in the fifth to close out the game on RBI singles by Unruh and Nelson; and a two-run single by Schulte.

The Buffaloes (1-5) got their only runs of the day in the top of the first in the nightcap on a two-run single by Brady Bluma, but the Demons got back a run in the bottom of the frame on a RBI groundout by Weiser.

The Demons went crazy on the base paths again in the second, recording seven steals in a seven-run inning, starting with RBI singles by Dayton McGroarty and Oldham. Balderaz scored on an error; Oldham scored on a double steal and Weiser brought in a run with a sacrifice fly. The final two runs were scored on a triple by Dawson Davis and a single by Unruh.

Dodge City added a run in the third on a wild pitch and in the fifth on a RBI single by Oldham.
The Demons closed out the game with two runs in the sixth on a RBI single by Jhett Ostrom and Unruh scored from third on a wild pitch.

"Base running was much better today," Rogers said. "We played decent on defense; but I wasn't real pleased with our focus at the plate.

"Anytime you get two wins you're pleased; especially when they were two run-rule games. I still feel like we could have played better."