SIMONDS' 4-HIT SHUTOUT KEYS BLUE DRAGON VICTORY OVER BUTLER
EL DORADO - Sophomore Kyle Simonds pitched the first nine-inning complete game of his career, twirling a four-hit shutout and the No. 11 Hutchinson Community College baseball team defeated the Butler Grizzlies 6-0 in the first of a four-game Jayhawk West series on Friday night at McDonald Stadium in El Dorado. The Blue Dragons moved to 29-10 overall and 17-4 in the Jayhawk West. Hutchinson's victory over Butler combined with Colby's Friday sweep of Seward County means the first-place Blue Dragons lead Butler by five games and Seward County by 5 1/2 games. Games 2 and 3 with the Grizzlies (23-18, 12-9) will be a pair of seven-inning games beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The series finale, one nine-inning game, will be at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Now 9-0 to start the season, Simonds is within one victory of tying Thad Weber for the Blue Dragon all-time best start for a pitcher. Weber was 10-0 in 2006. Last week, Simonds moved past Mitch Stubenhoffer (2009), who started that season 7-0. Simonds struck out a career-high 10 batters for the fourth time this season. He allowed four hits two walks and hit a batter. Only four Butler baserunners reached second base and none reached third. Twice this season, Simonds had worked eight innings, but he closed the deal himself on Friday using 116 pitches to toss his second shutout of the season. Simonds' ERA dropped to 1.94 and he has 71 strikeouts to seven walks. Pitching his sixth complete game of the season, Simonds has held an opponent to four hits or less four times this season. Offensively, Jake Ek had went 2 for 4 with two RBIs to lead Hutchinson, which out-hit Butler 13-4. Ek's two-out RBI double down the right-field line scored Jake Schleppenbach all the way from first base with the game's first run. Ek and Bennett Oliver added a pair of sacrifice flies to score Gabe Wurth and Schleppenbach in the fifth inning for a 3-0 Blue Dragon lead. HCC tacked on three huge insurance runs in the eighth. Jake Bublitz hit a towering solo home run to left field with one out in the eighth inning for a 4-0 lead. After Joel Frias doubled off the right-field wall - Butler's Dalton Wheat lost control when he slammed into the fence - Dakota Shadoan hit his first home run since February 16 with a monster blast to left field to make it 6-0. Schleppenbach was 2 for 4 with two runs scored. Bennett Oliver went 2 for 4 with an RBI. Bublitz was 2 for 3 with a run, RBI and stolen base. Frias was also 2 for 4 with a double and run scored. The Blue Dragons had five extra base hits. GAME NOTES - The Blue Dragons are 20-1 this season when scoring the game's first run. Bublitz hit his fifth home run of the season. Shadoan hit his third homer of the season and his 13th career home run. Jake Schleppenbach reached the 60-hit and 40-run plateaus on Friday night. Hutchinson has 12 home runs in its last 11 games. This was Hutchinson's first errorless game in the last 15 games. This was HCC's second nine-inning complete game of the season. Zach Wilson went nine innings last Saturday vs. Cloud County. This was HCC's fourth shutout of the season.