Parker Kavanagh drives in six as Salina Central baseball splits with Andover

Mustangs hang on to beat Andover in second game

Dylan Sherwood
Salina Journal

Dee Kolzow told his Salina Central Mustangs that Friday's opener against Andover was not the best they've played all season.

Central dropped the game, 9-7, but managed to bounce back with an 11-8 victory in the nightcap to salvage a doubleheader split at Dean Evans Stadium.

The Mustangs now are 10-6 overall for the season, but just 2-6 in Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League Division II play. 

"Every win is huge," said Central senior Collin Geihsler, who picked up the win on the mound in game two. "It's always good to pick up a win, especially in this division."

Kolzow said playing in the AVCTL-II is a grind.

"Anybody can beat anybody," Kolzow said. "I've said that since the very first weekend. On any given day, anybody can win."

For the third time in a week, Central needed another big inning at the plate to pull out a victory. 

"It's definitely helped us win all three games," Central junior Parker Kavanagh said. 

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Kavanagh gets out of hitting slide 

Kavanagh was 1-for-8 at the plate entering Friday's second game after hitting a home run against McPherson Tuesday. 

Kavanagh came through when the Mustangs needed him, belting a bases-clearing double as a part of Central's eight-run third that gave them a cushion with Geihsler on the mound. 

"It was definitely good to hit like that after not hitting well for a couple of games," Kavanagh said. "When we hit like that, it's definitely hard to beat us."

Kolzow said it was all or nothing every time Kavanagh went up to the plate. Kavanagh drove in six in the doubleheader. 

"He had some plate appearances that probably didn't look the best for him, but when we needed a hit, he got it for us," Kolzow said. 

Central got two hits each in the finale from Jaxon Kolzow, Brooks Richardson and Geishler. Kolzow also had a home run in the opener.

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Salina Central’s Jaxon Kolzow (14) celebrates with teammates Dakota Hogan, left, and Caden Kickhaefer after Kolzow hit a home run in the fourth inning of the first game of a doubleheader against Andover Friday afternoon at Dean Evans Stadium.

Andover rallied after Central led 10-2 through four innings, but only pulled within three runs in the seventh. 

"Just get the line moving (and) we all start going," Geihsler said. "There's not much they can do other than that." 

Central held the lead after the first five innings in the opener until Andover got two runs in the sixth, which was enough to hold on for the victory. The Trojans got a six-out save from Brandon Klusener, who surrendered one hit and recorded a strikeout. Klusener couldn't keep Central's bats silent in the finale, as he allowed three runs on six hits and had four strikeouts in four innings of relief. 

Salina Central’s Kade Cyre slides into third base during game one of Friday's doubleheader against Andover at Dean Evans Stadium.
Salina Central’s Nick Clayson throws a pitch in the first inning of the first game of the doubleheader against the Andover Trojans at Dean Evans Stadium on Friday.

Geihsler gives Mustangs quality outing 

For the second time in six days, Central got a quality pitching performance from Geihsler. 

He went 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and striking out three. 

"I just try and go out there and throw as many strikes as possible," Geihsler said. "Let them hit the ball and let my defense work for me. Other than that, the defense played great."

Coach Kolzow said Geihsler, a Kansas Wesleyan signee, continues to play well. 

Central hosts Arkansas City at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Dean Evans Stadium before wrapping up the regular season on May 11 at Valley Center. 

"They're big," Kolzow said. "You never know, sometimes you can end up higher and get a terrible seed and down low and get a good seed. We need to play Tuesday and then we need a week off for our arms to rest because we've got tired arms.

"We really need that week off coming up." 

Salina Central’s Brooks Richardson tries to tag Andover Trojan’s Brandon Klusener (21) out at home plate during the third inning in first game of the doubleheader at Dean Evans Stadium on Friday.