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Bat Cats' benefit starts Friday night
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Great Bend Bat Cats

BY JIM MISUNAS

jmisunas@gbtribune.com

Finally, there is sunshine on the horizon with the Great Bend Bat Cats First Pitch Banquet from 5-9 p.m. Friday at the Knights of Columbus, 723 Main Street in Great Bend.

The pulled pork fundraiser will offer refreshments. Raffles and auctions will offer specialty items, trips and sports memorabilia. Former Barton Community College coach Mike Warren, a Barton and Kansas Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, will deliver a keynote address.

“Mike Warren will put things in perspective and send a message to the players,” said Roger Ward, Great Bend Bat Cats coach. “He had to ask, ‘How long do I talk.’ ” A rare autographed Rolling Stones item is the premier auction item. Kansas City Chiefs and Kobe Bryant items are also featured.

“Last year, everyone enjoyed a good time and we sold all the auction items,” Ward said. “The Knights of Columbus folks are good supporters. It’s going to be a good night.”

For information, call Roger Ward, (620) 282-8159; or email gbbatcats@yahoo.com.

Fundraising efforts for the Great Bend Bat Cats baseball team have been squelched all spring. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly’s shutdown orders concerning the coronavirus placed summer baseball on hold for three months from March until June.

The Great Bend Bat Cats players arrived in town and made a quick tour of town to meet sponsors. Ward showed the out-of-town players all of Great Bend’s hot spots.

“We greeted each other and they met their host families,” Ward said. “We met with some sponsors and said thank you. We showed them the town.” Host families in Great Bend, Hoisington, Ellinwood and even Olmitz have taken responsibility to house players. “Everyone is taken care of and we’re grateful for that,” Ward said. “It’s a big commitment. You know they’re in the stands rooting for you. We’ve had really good luck.”

The team will stage workouts for a week prior to a June 11 home opener at Al Burns Memorial Field.

The team will conduct informal scrimmages several times.

No one has seen live pitching since the middle of March.

“Usually, pitching is ahead of hitting because it takes the batters need to get their timing down,” he said. “You expect a slow start.”

The Sunflower Collegiate League finalized schedules after the NBC Tournament announced it will start in early August. The NBC will likely be played at Wichita’s Riverfront Stadium, home of the Wichita Wind Surge.

Great Bend’s Brady Michel and Brayden Smith will join six Barton Community College baseball players, including Jarrett Seaton (Emporia State).