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Mauler’s miracle

Chiefs earn berth to American Legion state

POSTED July 15, 2017 11:37 p.m.
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Payton Mauler fashioned a storybook finish when his single sparked Great Bend’s game-ending celebration at the Great Bend Sports Complex.
Pinch runner Max Jerke slid past catcher Nathan Robl and Koy Brack scored the game-winning run on a throwing error for a shocking 9-8 Zone victory Saturday over McPherson.
Happy teammates congratulated Mauler for his heroics a week after they consoled him when his life-saving CPR effort was unable to rescue an umpire in Hutchinson.
What a difference a week makes. The Chiefs (17-12) qualify for the Class AAA State Tournament at Ottawa after trailing 4-0.
“I’ve never had a game-winning hit,” Mauler said. “That’s at the top, one of my best things I’ve ever done. I wanted to put a ball in play and find a gap.”
Logan Perry drilled a solid single to rightfield and Koy Brack reached base when catcher Robl made an errant throw to first base on a topped ball 10 feet from home. A moment later, Mauler drilled the game-tying single off reliever Corbin Steinert.
“I rounded first and watched Max make it home,” said Mauler, who pitched, catch and played left field. “The throw got away and when I saw Koy score I said, ‘YES.”
Chiefs coach Mike Perry said he was proud of the way the Chiefs responded from their sobering finish at the Hutchinson Tournament.
“Those guys laid everything on the line,” Perry said. “We overcame a tough week with a lot of emotion. I couldn’t be prouder of those guys. It took a team effort – every one of them.”
Perry said the championship was far from an artistic masterpiece.
“It was gutsy performance,” Perry said. “It felt like a game the home would win and we were the home team.”
Chiefs starter Logan Perry was relieved by Mauler, Brice Kaiser and Konner Ireland.
Jack Reifschneider’s three-run homer off Logan Perry handed McPherson a 4-0 first-inning lead. Jared Maneth and Logan Perry delivered RBI groundouts in the first inning. The Chiefs tied it 4-4 when Chance Perry hit an RBI single and Konner Ireland hit a sacrifice fly.
McPherson led 5-4 on Reifschneider’s sacrifice fly. The Chiefs led 6-5 after Koy Brack’s RBI single and Cory Burnham’s fourth-inning sacrifice fly.
Nathan Robl scored on a wild pitch and Alex Sitts delivered an RBI single for a 7-6 lead. The Chiefs tied it 7-7 when Chance Perry scored on a wild pitch.
Robl’s groundball scored Jeff Reed in the fifth inning for an 8-7 lead. Chiefs’ winning pitcher Ireland retired Reed and Trey Renken in the sixth inning and recorded three more outs in the seventh inning.

HAYS EAGLES 5, MCPHERSON 4 — Palmer Hutchison homered in the ninth inning to give the Hays Eagles Senior American Legion the lead as they rally for a 5-4 win over McPherson in the Class AAA Zone 8 tournament championship game Sunday at the Great Bend Sports Complex.
Hutchison’s blast over the left field wall on the first pitch capped a five-run rally to earn the Eagles (19-13) a spot in the AAA State Tournament July 26 at Ottawa.
Grant Coffman worked around a leadoff walk in the bottom of the ninth to lock down the win. Coffman didn’t allow a hit in 2 1/3 innings in relief of Hutchison who allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits with six strikeouts and five walks over 6 2/3 innings.
Down 4-0 after three innings, the Eagles scored two in the sixth and two in the seventh to force extra innings. Brett Herrman tripled and Braden Stauth singled to drive in runs in the sixth. After leading off the seventh with a single, Brady Kreutzer scored on a bases loaded balk. Hutchison then drove in Trey Riggs with the tying run on a sacrifice fly.
HAYS EAGLES 5, HUTCHINSON 1 — The Eagles advanced to the title game with a 5-1 win over the Hutchinson Colts earlier in the day, ending a seven-game losing streak. Cole Murphy and Grant Coffman combined on a five-hitter. Murphy allowed the one run on four hits with six strikeouts and three walks for the win.
Trey Riggs homered in the bottom of the third inning to break a 1-1 tie. Palmer Hutchison and Braden Stauth also drove in runs.
Great Bend beat McPherson 9-8 on Saturday to win the Zone 7 title.

CHIEFS 9, MCPHERSON 8
Championship
McPherson 401 230 0 — 8 6 3
Great Bend 222 100 2 — 9 6 2
Reifscheider, Steinert (5) and Robl. Logan Perry, Mauler (3), Kaiser (4), Ireland (6) and Maneth, Mauler (6). W—Ireland. L—Steinert. 2B—GB—Mauler. HR—M—Reifschneider.

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