Diamond Dawgs and Aviators head to NBC tourney

By Travis Mounts
The Times-Sentinel and Haysville Sun-Times

The Cheney Diamond Dawgs and Haysville Aviators summer collegiate baseball teams begin play this week in the National Baseball Congress World Series.

Cheney claimed the Sunflower Collegiate League title last week on Tuesday, beating Haysville 4-1 to win the SCL’s best-of-three championship series in two games. As reported in last week’s papers, the Diamond Dawgs won the opener 2-0 last week on Monday. Games were played at Wichita State University’s Eck Stadium.

The Diamond Dawgs scored a run in the top of the first, added 2 runs in the eighth and then posted an insurance run in the ninth. Haysville tied the game in the third inning, when Chris Robinson’s single scored Sterling Spurling. But that was the only run for the Aviators. Ben Ludwig started the game, going 6-2/3 innings while giving up just one earned run. Ty Jones took the loss in relief, after giving up a pair of hits and 2 runs.

Cheney’s Tyler Miller pitched three innings and got the win, and John Shull picked up the save. Hunter Otoole started the game, going four innings. He gave up three hits and just the one run, striking out three against two walks. Blake Rambusch, Scott Hastings and Wade Raburn all batted in runs. Kyler Castillo and Hastings led the team with two hits apiece, and Andrew Miller, Matt Scheurich and Raburn each added a hit.

For the first time in NBC World Series history, the tournament will be played somewhere other than Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, which has been demolished to make way for a new professional stadium. The Dawgs and Aviators are familiar with Eck Stadium at WSU. In addition to the championship series, the SCL held weekly doubleheaders there this season.

Pool play began last week at the NBC, and games were continuing through Wednesday. The top two teams from pool play week advance to the championship week. Championship week games begin this Thursday, Aug. 1, and run through Aug. 10.

The Diamond Dawgs open up the tournament in the featured game this Thursday, when they play the Seattle (Wash.) Studs. That game is slated to start at 7 p.m., but that time could vary depending on other games that day. The Diamond Dawgs are in Pool A with Seattle, the San Diego Waves and the Texas Express. Cheney’s next games will be on Saturday and Monday.

Haysville will open play in Pool B on Friday, taking on the Santa Barbara (Calif.) Foresters in the featured game. It is set to start at 7 p.m., although start times may vary a bit based on other games. The Game Day Saints are in that pool, as will be one of the first-week qualifiers. Haysville’s next games will be on Sunday and Tuesday.

Pool play games continue through Tuesday.  The second- and third-place teams will face off next Wednesday in cross-bracket games. Wednesday’s winners will each play a first-place team next week on Thursday. The semifinal games will be Friday, Aug. 9, with the championship game on Saturday, Aug. 10.

Updates from the NBC will be posted on our website. Additional updates can be found on the NBC’s social media pages.

This will be the third straight NBC appearance for the Diamond Dawgs, and fourth if you count the 2016 season when they were still in Valley Center.

The Aviators went 1-2 in the 2016 World Series. In 2015, they advanced to the championship game, finishing second to the Seattle (Wash.) Studs.