Four games in and four wins. Not too shabby for the Great Bend Chiefs American Legion baseball team.
After sweeping an all-star, select team Monday, the Chiefs hooked up with a nemesis Wednesday night at the Great Bend Sports Complex.
It was the Hays Eagles in town to renew the rivalry between the two towns with Great Bend sweeping the games to improve to 4-0.
The Chiefs won the opener by an 8-2 score and remained unbeaten with a 12-2 win in the nightcap for the sweep.
Much like the games Monday, big innings ignited the Chiefs in the wins.
Great Bend had a 5-run inning in the first game and an 8-run inning in the second contest.
Great Bend was clinging to a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning in the opener. Five runs later, the Chiefs took a comfortable lead into the final inning for the win.
“There was a little tension in the air to start the night,” Coach Roger Ward said. “These kids know each other from high school and this is a rivalry. When we finally did relax we kicked it into gear.”
Barton rode a strong pitching effort from Anson Hall in the first game. Hall went the distance to earn the win. After a slow start, Hall settled in and allowed the Eagles just three hits while striking out five and walking four.
But it wasn’t until that big sixth inning the Chiefs finally took command.
“It would be nice to have one of those big innings a little earlier in the game so we can loosen up a little,” Ward said. “We left the bases loaded three times before we finally broke though. From there, Hall came out and shut them down in the seventh.”
Brady Michel had three hits and drove in three in the win.
In the second game Great Bend took control behind an 8-run third inning and never looked back in the blowout win that ended in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Michel ended the game with a 2-run double to put the Chiefs over the run-rule. Jaxx Hillman reached base all five times, going 1-for-1 with four walks. He drove in two and scored four times.
Payton Mauler highlighted the big third inning with a 2-run inside the park home run. Mauler finished 3-for-4 with four RBI.
Great Bend will hit the road for the first time this season when the Chiefs travel to Nebraska this weekend. Great Bend will take part in four games in both Hastings and Grand Island.
“It should be a good test for us,” Coach Ward said. “I think it will be really, really competitive. Getting away gives us a chance to spend a lot of time together as a team.
“These kids all know each other but getting away like this helps us bond even more. We have a player from Hoisington as well and that will help them know each other even better.”
The Chiefs will play in the Grand Island/Hastings Invitational Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Great Bend will return home Tuesday to take on Dodge City in a 6 pm doubleheader at the Sports Complex.