BY JIM MISUNAS
AUGUSTA — It was the craziest inning in Great Bend Bat Cat history.
The Kansas Cannons led the Bat Cats 4-1 in Wednesday's battle for first place in the Sunflower Collegiate Baseball League.
Eleven runs later, the Bat Cats (13-2) smoked the Cannons 12-4 to move two games ahead of the Cannons (10-3). The Cannons visit Great Bend Friday and Saturday for two more showdowns.
"That was an incredible inning," said Bat Cats coach Jonathan Mariani. "It was cool to find a way to keep passing the bat. With our lineup, we feel we've always got a chance."
Down 4-1, Robby Bolin delivered a 2-run, two out single that ended a zero-for-9 Bat Cat drought with runners in scoring position.
Twelve consecutive batters reached base by the time the 11-run inning ended. The Bat Cats benefited from 12 walks and four hit-batters.
Armani Raygoza's walk forced Connor Chavez home. Raygoza, whose new nickname is the Roadrunner, beat a throw to second base on Jase Woita's groundball that was misplayed as a fourth run scored.
Peyton Roberson delivered a 2-run single. Woita scored on an error. Roberson scored on a wild pitch. Chavez forced home a run on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch. Bolin's bases-loaded walk scored a 10th run. Jake Tatom capped the 11-run inning with an RBI single.
"I give credit to their starter," Mariani said. "He worked quickly and kept us uncomfortable."
Bat Cats starter Matthew Howell gift wrapped a 4-run first inning with four walks compounded by an error. Great Bend natives Chase Gruber and Paco Hernandez combined for eight shutout innings after Howell struggled. Bat Cat relievers have strung together 16 consecutive shutout innings.
"That's three nights in a row that our bullpen guys have pitched great baseball," Mariani said.
GB Bat Cats 001 0(11)0 000 — 12 9 1
Cannons 400 000 000 — 4 3 2
Howell, Gruber (2), Hernandez (7) and Hale. Ewing, Willey (5), Pouch (5), Fahnenstock (6) and Gordon. W—Gruber, 2-0. L—Willey. 2B—GB—Woita, Hale.
Great Bend Bat Cats 13-2
Kansas Cannons 10-3
Derby Twins 7-6
Haysville Aviators 5-5
Hutchinson Monarchs 4-8
Newton Rebels 2-7
Kingman Islanders 2-12
6-30—Colorado Springs at Bat Cats; Dodge City at Derby
6-29—Colorado Springs at Bat Cats; Hays Larks at Cannons
6-28—Bat Cats at Liberal; Aviators at Cannons; Islanders at Monarchs' Newton at Derby
6-27—Bat Cats at Liberal; Cannons at Aviators; Monarchs at Islanders Newton at Derby
6-26—Bat Cats at Dodge City; Cannons at Aviators; Islanders at Monarchs; Derby at Newton
6-25—Derby at Dodge City
6-24—Cannons at Bat Cats; Monarchs at Newton; Aviators at Twins; Wellington at Islanders
6-23—Cannons at Bat Cats; Monarchs at Newton; Twins at Aviators; Islanders at Kansas Curve
6-22—Bat Cats 12, Cannons 4; Twins 5, Aviators 2
6-21—Bat Cats 7, Islanders 4; Cannons 7, Monarchs 6
6-20—Bat Cats 5, Islanders 4; Rebels 12, Aviators 7; Cannons 14, Monarchs 9
6-19—Bat Cats 14, Islanders 3; Cannons 20, Monarchs 0; Aviators 5, Rebels 2