CHANUTE — Logan Page learned 30 minutes before game time Thursday that he would be counted on to extend his team’s baseball season.
Page, one of the youngest players on the Iola A American squad, earned the starting pitching nod as the Indians took on Chanute in a Zone elimination game.
Page answered the call and then some, pitching brilliantly into the seventh inning of a 3-1 Iola victory.
The win keeps the Indians’ season alive at least one more game, with Iola slated to take on Overbrook Friday evening at Chanute’s Santa Fe Park baseball diamond, with the winner advancing to the state tournament next week.
Page limited Chanute to a solitary infield single through six innings, with Iola forging ahead 3-0.
He wobbled a bit to lead off the seventh, with Chanute’s Parker Manley lacing a double and scoring on Cohwen Wheeler’s infield single, prompting Indians head coach Bob Johnson to summon staff ace Trevor Church in to finish things off.
That he did, striking out the next three Chanute batters to secure victory.
“We wanted to let him try to finish it,” Johnson said. “He earned it.”
Young Page, who just finished eighth grade, was unfazed by the pressure.
“It was just another day pitching,” Page said. “It was just going out there and throwing strikes, getting ahead in the count, and letting the defense do the work. Our defense has been spot-on.”
Page faced one other threat, when three Chanute batters reached base via walk — his only three walks of the game.
The first walk was erased on a double play after Iola first baseman Carter Hutton snared Wheelser’s line drive, then doubled off Manly at first for the second out.
Page then walked Chanute’s Dax Axelson and Bryan Jackett before retiring Royce Chaney on a ground ball to third to end the inning.
He then retired nine of the next 10, allowing only an infield single to Braxton Harding with one out in the third.
“Logan pitched terrific,” Johnson said, “and we played flawless defense. You play defense and throw strikes, you can win every game.”
The Indians also caught a break when Thursday’s first game, a winner’s bracket contest between Overbrook and Pittsburg, ran about 30 minutes longer than expected.
That allowed Iola’s Trey Sommer to make it to the ballpark minutes before Iola’s game started. Sommer had been showing an animal at the Allen County Fair.
“Trey called me about 7:30 and said he was done,” Johnson said. “I told him to come on down because the other game ran long.”
Sommer, who narrowly missed out on throwing a no-hitter for Iola in their 14-0 win over Garnett on Tuesday, played third on Thursday.
“He did a nice job on defense,” Johnson said. “Everybody did a good job on defense.”
Meanwhile, Iola’s offense did just enough to take the upper hand.
“We didn’t have anybody just kill the ball, but we had some timely hits,” Johnson said.
Page worked a leadoff walk in the second. Courtesy runner Landon Weide advanced to third on Rogan Weir’s double down the third base line, and then scored on Church’s ground ball for a 1-0 lead.
On the other side, Chanute’s Manley found himself repeatedly working out of jams.
Iola went down in order only once in the contest, but also stranded six baserunners in the first three innings.
Gavin Page gave the Indians an insurance run when he reached on an error to lead off the fifth, and moved to second on Carter Hutton’s sacrifice. He advanced to third on Brandon Mcarnin’s pop fly double, and then scored after forcing an errant pickoff throw from Chanute’s catcher.
Iola’s final run came in the bottom of the sixth after Logan Page was hit by a pitch, and Weide came in as a courtesy runner to advance to second and third on passed balls, and scored on Cloud’s sac fly.
Logan Page struck out five in his six innings of work. Church had three Ks in his inning to earn the save.
McKarnin had a pair of doubles to pace the offense, while Weir doubled, and Hutton and Church had singles.
Manly allowed four hits and an earned run over five innings of work, with five strikeouts. Indian batters were 1 of 10 with runners in scoring position.
Logan Page appreciated the faith his coaches and teammates had in his pitching ability.
“I just want to be ready and throw strikes,” he said. “It was pretty fun.”