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Great Bend Braves win Legion Zone opener

Braves play Salina at 4 p.m. Tuesday

POSTED July 9, 2018 9:35 p.m.

The Great Bend Braves scored four times before Russell ever came to the plate then never lost the lead on the way to a 10-run opening round win at the American Legion A Zone tournament Monday night.
Sounds like a pretty easy win, right?
Not quite.
Great Bend did score four times before Russell ever came to bat. And the Braves never did trail in the game on the way to a 17-7 win. That is accurate.
But it was far from a walk in the park at the Great Bend Sports Complex as the fifth-seeded Braves knocked off No. 4 Russell.
“We are picking things up on offense,” Coach Konner Ireland said. “We are as aggressive at the plate and on the bases as we have been all season. I think we are clicking about the right time.”
The win moved Great Bend (8-21) into the winner’s bracket semifinal at 4 pm Tuesday against No. 2 seed Salina (7-10).
It seemed like whatever the Braves would score in the top of the inning, Russell would nearly equal in the bottom half. That is until a big sixth inning slammed the door.
Great Bend took a 2-0 lead when Jacob Hinton singled in Miguel Martinez and Layton Holden scored on the throw. Will Linenberger made it 4-0 on a single that scored Jayce Kohls and Hinton all before Russell came up to bat.
But Russell would score three times in the bottom of the inning and the battle was on.
“After that first inning I told the team we just needed to keep scoring runs,” Coach Ireland said. “We did that and we also did a better job in the field.”
Great Bend led 5-4 into the third inning when Christian Zahnter made it 7-4 with a bases loaded single to score Hinton and Caden Bieker. Martinez followed with a single to left that scored Trevor Delong and the Braves led 8-4.
Russell would score two in the bottom of third and another in fourth to cut the lead to 8-7.
The Braves took a slim 9-7 lead into the sixth inning. By the time the inning ended it was 17-7.
The scoring started with a triple by Kohls that scored Jacob Kennedy and Holden to make it 11-7 as the first three batters reached base.
Zahnter again came through with the bases loaded as his single scored Linenberger and Bieker. An error on the play allowed DeLong to come home as well and the Braves were well on their way to the win, leading 15-7.
Great Bend would score two more thanks to a pair of wild pitches to make it 17-7 and give the Braves a chance to end the game in the bottom of the sixth by run-rule.
Great Bend did just that, keeping Russell off the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning for the win.
Zahnter finished with a pair of hits and five RBI. Hinton and Holden both had two hits while Bieker scored three times.
Bieker started and pitched into the fourth inning before giving way to Kennedy. Bieker earned the win while Kennedy, allowing no runs during his time on the mound, picked up the save.
“Bieker kept us in the game on the mound,” Coach Ireland said. “He was really getting that first pitch over for a strike and that is a big thing.”

HAYS EAGLES 26, CUNNINGHAM 0 -- Hays scored nine times in the opening inning and never looked back as the Eagles rolled to a 26-0 win over winless Cunningham in the opening game of the Zone. Hays scored in every inning to advance in the winner’s bracket.

HAYS EAGLES 13, HAYS MONARCHS 1 -- The Hays Eagles took advantage of eight Monarch errors, scoring two runs in the first, five in the third and three in the fifth and sixth. The  Eagles (14-15) play at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Zone 2 championship. The winner qualifies for Class A state at Leavenworth.  

Game 1—Hays Eagles 26, Cunningham 0
Game 2—Great Bend Braves 17, Russell 7
Game 3—Hays Eagles 13, Hays-Thomas More Prep 1

Game 4—Salina Hawks 23, Great Bend Braves 0
Game 5—Russell 14, Hays-TMP 9
Game 6—Great Bend Braves 19, Cunningham 1 

Game 7—4 p.m.—Hays Eagles (14-15) vs Salina Hawks (8-10) (Zone 2 championship)
Game 8—6 p.m.—Great Bend Braves (9-22) vs. Russell (6-10)
Game 9—8 p.m.—Winner game 8 vs. loser game 7 (Zone 1 championship)
Winners qualify for A state at Leavenworth

Great Bend 413 018 – 17 12 6
Russell 312 100 – 7 8 4
W–-Kennedy. L–-Swanson. S--Kennedy. 2B–-R--Rome, Roth, Swanson. 3B--GB--Kohls, R--Baalman, Ford.

Hays 965 60 – 26 17 0
Cunningham 000 00 – 0 2 6
W–-Robbins. L–-Tator. 2B–-Hays--Dotts, Haynes, Herrman, Schwarz. 3B–Hays--Cox, Herrman, Schwartz.


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