BY JIM MISUNAS
On a wild and crazy night, Great Bend's Jackson Webster gave his teammates fair warning when his first inning hard-hit foul ball drilled teammate Connor Chavez in the dugout.
Webster enjoyed a Babe Ruthian Night with a grand slam homer and 2-run homer to spark a hard-fought 15-8 victory over the Colorado Springs Cage Rats Thursday.
Webster's 2-run shot ignited a game-clinching 5-run eighth-inning rally. Brady Wilson and Marshall Hale delivered RBI singles and Robby Bolin scored on a wild pitch in the eighth inning for a 15-8 lead.
JoJo Nieves delivered a 2-run third-inning triple to score Marshall Hale and Matthew Mendez. Nieves and Brady Wilson were thrown out at home by Cage Rat left fielder Matt Lemker and right fielder Jackson Hower.
The Cage Rats played inspired baseball after a 51/2-hour, 380-mile trip from Colorado Thursday. The Cage Rats trailed 10-3, but climbed within 10-8 after 71/2 innings.
Whitting delivered a first-inning RBI. Connor Bertsch drilled a 2-run fifth-inning homer. Whitting, Lemker and Hower drove home runs in a 4-run sixth inning. Hower's eighth-inning RBI sliced the lead to 10-8.
The summertime fun started early on a night offering free hot dogs, hamburgers and $1 beer.
Grant Nottlemann enjoyed an epic at-bat with three foul balls that damaged vehicles, including the prized Bat Cat travel bus. In the eighth inning, Marshall Hale drilled another foul ball into the Bat Cat dugout. Cage Rat Coby DeJesus departed the game after a fastball from Tyrus Riley struck him in the batting helmet.
The Bat Cats and Cage Rats resume the 3-game series Friday and Saturday.
Cage Rats 010 024 010 — 8 17 1
GB Bat Cats 052 030 05x — 15 13 2
Fried, Bertsch and Whitting. Riley Austin (6), Howell (7), Stuart (9) and Hale. W--Riley. L--Fried. 2B—CR—Carlson. 3B—GB—Nieves. HR—GB—Webster 2; CR--Bertsch.
Great Bend Bat Cats 15-3 18-5
Kansas Cannons 12-6 13-8
Derby Twins 9-9 11-10
Haysville Aviators 8-8 8-9
Newton Rebels 7-10 9-10
Hutchinson Monarchs 7-11 7-11
Kingman Islanders 3-14 5-14
6-29—Bat Cats 15, Colorado Springs 8; Hays Larks 7, Cannons 3
6-30—Colorado Springs at Bat Cats; Dodge City at Twins; Rebels at Aviators
7-1—Colorado Springs at Bat Cats; Islanders at Aviators; Wellington at Twins
7-2—Sunflower All-Stars at Great Bend, 5:30