BY JIM MISUNAS
Great Bend Bat Cat reliever Kolby Parker faced the ultimate challenge facing Newton's Aidan Corrigan with the bases loaded and the go-ahead runner on base. Parker struck out Corrigan to preserve a 5-3 eighth inning lead. Parker recorded the final four outs to earn a save.
The Sunflower Collegiate League first-place Bat Cats (6-1) were granted two unearned eighth-inning runs and earned a hard-fought 7-3 victory over the Newton Rebels Tuesday at Al Burns Memorial Field. The series resumes Wednesday at Newton.
The Bat Cats benefited from a two-out Rebel eighth-inning error. Zane Spinn scored on the error and Noah Best's single scored Junior Torres with another valuable insurance run for a 7-3 lead.
Great Bend nearly wasted an early 5-1 lead by going scoreless for five innings. Designated hitter Andrew Enwiya jump started the Bat Cats with a three-run first-inning homer that scored Dylan Blomquist and Nico Baumbach off starter Jack Rector. Alex Rodgers alertly slid home after delaying until second baseman Camden Jurgenson threw to first base on Baumbach's groundball. Blomquist scored on Enwiya's sacrifice fly for a 5-0 lead.
Starter Zach Thornton (1-0) recorded nine strikeouts in five innings. Former Barton County Cougar Nolan Riley delivered three hits and singled home Justin Barnes in the first inning for a 1-0 lead.
Newton's Rylan Wallington scored on Corrigan's groundout and Trey Winget scored on a passed ball for a pair of seventh-inning runs off reliever Ethan Thomas. Reliever Evans Hendricks struck out Carsen Thor to strand Riley and Andrew Brautman after a two-out single and a walk.
Rebels 100 000 200 — 3 9 3
Bat Cats 320 000 02x — 7 8 3
Rector, Vergini (7), Gillig and Thornton, Thomas (6), Hendricks (7), Parker (8) and Torres. W—Thornton, 1-0. L—Rector. 2B—BC—Rodgers. HR—BC—Enwiya.