BY JIM MISUNAS
HUTCHINSON – Great Bend Bat Cats newcomer Jordan Maxson extended the postseason with a game-winning single to score Alex Rodgers for a thrilling 9-8 victory over the Hutchinson Monarchs in Friday's NBC Midwest Baseball Regional.
Maxson has drilled three hits in his first two games as a Bat Cat after Micah Grover asked coach Roger Ward to add him to the roster. He was mobbed by happy teammates after the consolation victory in 100-degree heat.
"I haven't had many opportunities. I can't tell you the last time I hit a game-winner," said Maize South graduate Maxson, who has played baseball at Kansas State. "Their pitcher was throwing straight fastballs."
The Bat Cats (26-14) meet the Dodge City A's at 1 p.m. Saturday after beating the Sunflower Collegiate champions for the fourth time in six games.
Great Bend trailed 7-5 and were 3 for 11 with runners in scoring position when Hutchinson reliever Hunter Meche gave the Bat Cats a game-changing break. Meche hit Connor Allen and Tyler Henry with back-to-back two strike pitches.
Red-hot No. 9 batter Kyle Gates ripped a two-run single to score Maxson and Allen with the tying and go-ahead runs for a 8-7 lead. Gates drilled a fourth-inning grand slam homer off Monarch ace Mikel Howell (6-0) for a 5-0 lead.
"I was sitting on a fastball," said Gates, who had a career high six RBIs. "Hitting No. 9 is a huge advantage because I'm seeing a lot of fastballs now. When I hit the homer, I caught up to a fastball up."
Maxson doubled home Zane Spinn before Gates' grand slam.
Hutchinson (30-11) responded with a six-run fifth-inning off starter Jarrett Seaton. Jordan Ardoin hit a two-run single and Carter Young, Breck Nowik and Garrett Anglim hit RBI singles as two walks turned into two runs.
Reliever Dawson Tourney worked three innings to keep the Bat Cats close. Cole Cosman doubled home Ardoin for a 7-5 lead after 71/2 innings.
Hutchinson's Anglim singled home Carter Young for an 8-8 tie in the ninth inning with two out off reliever Payton Tinkler (1-0).
Monarchs 000 060 011 – 8 12 0
GB Bat Cats 000 500 031 – 9 13 2
Howell, Meche (7), Pogue (9) and Harris. Seaton, Tourney (5), Tinkler (8) and W–Tinkler, 1-0. L–Pogue. 2B–GB–Spinn 2, Maxson 2; H–Kocis, Cosman, Ardoin. HR–GB–Gates.
2021 MIDWEST REGIONAL
HUTCHINSON, HOBART DETTER
7-29–G2–Haysville Aviators 9, Great Bend Bat Cats 4; G1—Dodge City A’s 6, Derby Twins 5; G3—Cheney Diamond Dawgs 3, Hutchinson Monarchs 2
7-30—G6—Bat Cats 9, Hutchinson Monarchs 8; G4—Wichita Sluggers 3, Dodge City A's 2; G5–Cheney 5, Haysville Aviators 2
7-31–G7–Bat Cats (26-14) vs. Dodge City A's, 1 p.m.; G8–Derby Twins (22-20) vs. Haysville Aviators (24-24), 4 p.m.; G9–Wichita Sluggers (26-16) vs. Cheney (27-16), 7 p.m.
8-1–G10–Winners G7, G8, 4 p.m.; G11–Winner G10 vs. loser G9, 7 p.m.
8-2–G12–Winners G9, G11, 5 p.m.; G13–(if needed) Winner G12 vs. loser G12