By Travis Mounts
The Cheney Diamond Dawgs will play for the National Baseball Congress World Series title on Saturday night.
The Diamond Dawgs blasted the Kansas Cannons 13-3 in the first of two semifinals played Friday at Wichita State University.
Cheney scored 7 runs in the first four innings, and held a 7-1 advantage by the time the top of the fifth inning rolled around. The Cannons scored 2 runs in the top of the fifth to pull to within 4 runs, but that was not nearly enough as the Diamond Dawgs responded with a 6-running inning in the bottom of the sixth.
Cheney pounded out 15 hits to just eight by the Cannons, who also committed three errors.
Blake Rambusch batted in 3 runs for Cheney, and Andrew Miller and Ramon Vingochea had two RBI each. Kyler Castillo had a game-high four hits, and Rambusch, Wade Raburn and Chaney Dodge hit two hits apiece.
Error by the Cannons contributed to runs in the first and second innings for Cheney, and again in the sixth.
Starter Dakota Rodd went six innings and got the win for the Diamond Dawgs. He allowed 3 runs and six hits, and struck out five batters. Hunter O’Toole pitched two innings of relief and Derek Schumann pitched an inning. Both struck out two batters apiece.
Now Cheney will take on the Seattle Studs, a perennial NBC favorite. Seattle won a West Coast battle, beating the San Diego Waves 9-4 for the other championship game spot. The Studs built a 4-0 lead over the Waves through 4-1/2 innings. The Waves scored 4 runs in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game. But Seattle responded with 3 runs in the sixth and 2 runs in the eighth. Seattle had 10 hits to nine for San Diego.
Seattle is a regular at this level of the NBC. The Studs have appeared in the title game seven times in the past 15 years, and have won the championship twice.
Cheney is in its fourth straight NBC World Series, going back to their final season in Valley Center in 2016. They have not missed the World Series since relocating to Cheney.
And the Diamond Dawgs beat Seattle 5-4 in the first NBC game for both teams just over a week ago on the first night of championship week. The Diamond Dawgs took a 5-1 on Jackson Glenn’s grand slam, and then got just enough defense to secure the victory.
Cheney has won all five of its tournament games by an average of 5 runs. The win over Seattle was the Dawgs’ closest game, and they needed 10 innings to beat Derby 4-2 in Thursday’s quarterfinal.
Seattle has a 5-1 NBC record this summer, and have three shutout victories. Two of those shutouts have come in the last three games. The Studs have won their last three games by a combined score of 29-4.
The Times-Sentinel will have Facebook updates from the game, and will have more coverage online and in Thursday’s newspapers.