The Great Bend Bat Cats crashed and burned in Friday’s home baseball opener at Al Burns Field. The highlight of the night was the fireworks show after the loss.
The Hutchinson Monarchs scored eight unearned runs for an 11-5 Sunflower Collegiate League victory. The Bat Cats contributed eight walks, a pair of critical errors and a passed ball on a strikeout led to four unearned runs.
Bat Cat starter Carson Bell and Conrad Hansel yielded no earned runs and two hits through five innings.
But the Monarchs led 4-1 because of two errors. Monarch Jeremiah Ceasar scored on a first-inning error.
The Bat Cats had two baserunners reach base the first three innings, but Brady Michel’s sacrifice fly produced the lone run.
Dylan Nedved’s two-out fifth-inning groundball turned into a three-run error third baseman Dawson Pomeroy and the Bat Cats never recovered from a 4-1 deficit.
The Monarchs turned good fortune into a three-run seventh inning. Conor Craig’s 20-foot pop fly turned into an infield double and Ceasar followed with a bloop single. Craig scored on a wild pitch. Nedved delivered a sacrifice fly and Taylor Barber homered for a 7-1 lead off reliever Zack Brisendine.
Bat Cats pinch-hitter Luke Repka homered, but Colin Meinert and Zach Poe were stranded with one out in the sixth inning. Alex Guevera scored on a seventh-inning wild pitch for a 7-3 score.
Mason Lowe delivered a two-run single and Nedved drove in a run for an 11-3 lead in a four-run eighth inning extended after Craig reached on a strikeout.
Great Bend native Michel drove home Poe and Alex Guevera singled home Chase Gibson for an 11-5 final.
Mikel Howell (1-0) struck out four batters in 3 2/3 innings for the victory.
Hutchinson 100 030 340 – 11 11 2
Great Bend 010 001 120 – 5 13 2
Dreher, Howell (3) Clark, Linder (8) and Scott Wolverton. Bell, Hansel (4), Brizendine (6) and Gibson. W—Howell, 1-0. L—Bell, 0-1. 2B—GB—Gibson; H—Ceasar, Craig. HR—GB—Repka; H—Barber.