BY JIM MISUNAS
One night after seven perfect relief innings, the Great Bend Bat Cats pitchers were blown out in an 18-10 setback Thursday to the Liberal Bee Jays.
Liberal scored 11 runs when runners reached base or scored on walks, hit batters or errors. Five runners scored after walks, four after hit-batters and two on Bat Cat errors. Reliever Josh Doerr threw three shutout innings.
Liberal's Walker Polk broke a 6-6 tie with a bases-loaded double off losing pitcher David Stuart, who yielded nine runs. Polk drove home four runs and Colden Kaiser drove in three runs. Owen May, Luke Rhee and Jett Brown each drove home two runs. The Bee Jays outscored the Bat Cats 12-4 after a 6-6 tie.
Great Bend was sparked by Armani Raygoza, who drove home two runs and reached base four times for the second consecutive game. Robby Bolin, Jackson Webster, Jace Wentling and Isaiah Ural drove home runs. Ural and Connor Chavez scored on wild pitches.
Ural and Jackson Webster hit into back-to-back double plays in the third and fourth innings. Ural's third-inning double play groundball with one out prevented Raygoza from batting with the bases loaded with a 9-6 score.
The Bat Cats play at 6 p.m. Sunday at Al Burns Memorial Field for the Jayhawk League championship against the Kansas Cannons or Hutchinson Monarchs. Five-time NBC champion Liberal (27-11) and Great Bend (27-11) will compete in the 2023 NBC Baseball World Series at Wichita State's Eck Stadium.
Liberal 064 060 021 — 18 16 3
GB Bat Cats 150 011 200 — 10 13 4
Wilkerson, Kunta (3), Doerr (7) and Shafer. Stuart, Lanik (4), Hernandez (5), Austin (5) and Hale. W—Kunta. L—Stuart, 0-1. 2B—GB-—Ural 2; L—Polk, Kusumoto, Brown, Kaiser.