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Blackwill leads GBHS to split with Dodge City home on Tuesday

POSTED May 3, 2011 10:47 p.m.
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It was déjà vu time for the Great Bend High School baseball team.
The Panthers scored four runs in the first inning and two runs in the second in building a 6-1 lead in the first game of a Western Athletic Conference doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon at Al Burns Memorial Field.
It wasn’t enough as Dodge City rallied for a 12-8 victory.
After building a 6-0 lead after two innings in the nightcap, scoring four in the first and two in the second — just like the opener — the Panthers were determined not to relive the opening-game debacle.
Although the Red Demons chopped the deficit in half at 6-3 after scoring three runs in the third, Great Bend snuffed out a fourth-inning Dodge City bid and went on to salvage a split with a 7-4 win.
Great Bend is now 10-4 overall, 3-3 in the WAC. Dodge City now stands at 9-7, 5-3.
Darien Blackwill, Landon Leuenberger and Matt Marshall had RBI singles for the Panthers during their four-run first in the nightcap. Cole Smith also had a perfectly executed bunt single and later scored.
Blackwill added a two-out, two-run single in the second to stretch the lead to 6-0.
Dodge City chopped the lead in half at 6-3 in the top of the third on Dylan Roy’s ground-rule double, driving in two runs, coupled with an RBI single by Jordan Doan.
Then the Panthers made some big plays in the field to squelch a big inning by the Demons in the fourth.
With one out, Blackwill picked Josh Ginther off first base for out No. 2. Then GBHS shortstop Logan Buehler went deep in the hole to backhand a ground ball by Jared Helfrich and rifled a throw to first, where first baseman Jeff Pike neatly scooped the throw to end the inning.
Great Bend held a 7-3 lead in the fourth after Smith lifted a sacrifice fly to right-center, driving in Connor Sell.
But Dodge cut the margin to 7-4 in the fifth on Roy’s second double of the game, an RBI two-base hit.
Another alert play by Great Bend in the field prevented another Dodge run in the sixth. With the Demons’ Ginther on second, Leuenberger had the ball get past him with Ginther advancing to third. No one was covering home plate and Ginther made a mad dash for home, but Leuenberger beat him to the plate and tagged him out.

Dodge City 12,
Great Bend 8

Regarded as a gap-to-gap, singles-hitting team this season, Dodge City’s Helfrich helped belie that theory.
At least that for one game.
Helfrich hit a two-run home run, part of a three-run seventh inning and the finishing touches during their four-run win. Helfrich finished with six RBIs.
The rally came after Great Bend built a 6-1 lead after three innings.
It was the first homer all season for Dodge City and the only extra-base hit in the game for the Demons, who totaled 11 hits. Great Bend had 10 hits, including a pair of doubles and a triple by leadoff hitter Logan Buehler.
But the Panthers bullpen failed to close out Dodge, which scored single runs in the fourth and fifth and then came alive with six runs in the sixth, highlighted by a two-run single by Helfrich and an RBI single by Nick Brady.
Helfrich going deep in the seventh helped cap Dodge’s surge.
GBHS starter Mitch Kottas had a no-decision after giving way to Nick Ney in the fifth. Jace Bowman and Marshall also pitched for the Panthers.
Ney took the loss.
It was all Great Bend early.
Buehler launched a triple into the alley in right-center field to lead off the bottom of the first, the start of a four-run uprising for a 4-1 lead. Bowman followed by singling sharply, scoring Buehler to tie the game at 1-1. Blackwill followed with a walk and Smith reached on bunt single down the third-base line to load the bases.
After Leuenberger fanned for the first out, Pike hit an RBI groundout to second, scoring Bowman for a 2-1 lead.
Sam Hafner then reached on an error on an infield grounder, enabling both Blackwill and Smith to score for a 4-1 edge.
Buehler also got the Panthers started in the second, hitting a one-out double and later scoring after Blackwill swatted a two-run single to right for a 6-1 lead. Bowman, who earlier walked, also scored on the play.
Great Bend also scored single runs in the fourth and fifth. GBHS scored in the fourth on Hafner’s squeeze play, driving in Brent Stoss, who was running for Leuenberger.
In the fifth, Smith’s sacrifice fly drove in Buehler.

At Great Bend
Al Burns Memorial Field

Dodge City High School 12,
Great Bend 8
                           123 456  7        R  H   E
Dodge City        100 116  3  — 12  11  5
Great Bend       420 110  0  —  8   10  2

     Jesus Sumaya & BJ Tieben; Mitch Kottas, Nick Ney (5), Jace Bowman (6), Matt Marshall (6) & Landon Leuenberger. W — Sumaya. L — Ney. 2B — Great Bend (Buehler 2, Pike). 3B — Great Bend (Buehler). HR — Dodge City (Helfrich).

Great Bend 7, Dodge City 4
                             123 456  7       R  H  E
Dodge City          003 010  0 —  4   5  0
Great Bend         420 100  0 —  7  12  2

     Taylor Murphy & BJ Tieben; Darien Blackwill & Landon Leuenberger. W — Blackwill. L — Murphy. 2B — Dodge City (Roy 2).


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