BY JIM MISUNAS
WICHITA — The Great Bend Bat Cats offense is thriving after scoring 24 runs in their last game.
Great Bend's Brady Michel drilled a two-run homer to spark the Bat Cats past Game Day (Parker, Colo.) 11-1 in Friday's NBC World Series. Michel launched his second summer homer to stake the Bat Cats to a 3-0 first-inning lead in perfect 80-degree weather.
"It kept going. I was pretty surprised because I hit it off the end of the bat," Michel said. "That boosted everyone's confidence. The way we hit today, there's not a lot of pressure on the pitchers. It saves your pitching."
The Bat Cats (27-16) play the defending NBC champion Santa Barbara (Calif.) Foresters at 7 p.m. Sunday at Wichita State's Eck Stadium.
Pitcher Tanner Howe worked six innings to earn the victory. Howe threw a previous complete game against the Derby Twins. Howe froze Kellen Peat and Bailey Seeger on called 3-2 strikeouts.
"My stuff wasn't quite as good today, but I definitely worked the corners," Howe said. "I threw good fastballs with movement and let my defense work. A had a two-seam fastball moving backdoor. They were rolling over a lot. I mixed my slider in pretty well. When we're scoring runs, we just need to compete on the mound."
Howe threw 95 pitches with three strikeouts in solid performance.
"I was proud of Tanner Howe because he didn't have his best stuff," said Roger Ward, Bat Cat coach. "He got the job done."
Clay Lockett drove home three runs. Dawson Pomeroy drove in two runs. Leadoff hitter Cade Gonzales reached base five times and scored two runs. Gonzales passed a concession test after getting beaned in the batting helmet by Carter Hohn.
Pomeroy singled home Ryan Monson before Michel's blast. Gonzales scored on a third-inning balk. Pomeroy singled home Gonzales in the fifth inning. Lockett's single scored Chandler Bloomer and Cheatum in the sixth inning.
Bloomer, Cheatum, Lockett and Daunte Freeman drove home runs in the clinching seventh inning.
"Our guys are locked in," Ward said. "A guy like Brady Michel swung nice and relaxed. If you can hit 1 through 9, you can put pressure on people. I wanted to keep on scoring runs. That's big in a tiebreaker."
Bat Cat pitcher Jarrett Seaton celebrated his 21st birthday by snaring a foul ball one-handed. Seaton's birthday was recognized by the public address announcer.
GB Bat Cats 301 012 4 — 11 11 2
Game Day, Colo. 001 000 0 — 1 5 3
Howe, Bell (7) and Bloomer. Hohn, Park (6), Des Rosiers (6), Dziurgot (7), Schwulst (7) and Seeger. W—Howe. L—Hohn. 2B—GB—Bloomer, Cheatum; GD—Hammann. HR—GB—Michel.
WICHITA STATE, ECK STADIUM
BRACKET PLAY JULY 30
Hutchinson Monarchs 7, Dodge City A’s 1
Great Bend Bat Cats 6, Wichita Sluggers 3
Derby Twins 5, Wichita 316 Elite 2
Hays Larks 2, Denver Cougars 0
BRACKET PLAY JULY 31
Derby Twins 9, Hays Larks 7
Great Bend Bat Cats 24, Hutchinson Monarchs 10
CHAMPIONSHIP POOL PLAY
POOL A—G1—San Diego Waves 3, Texas Express 2; G2—Cheney 5, Seattle 4; G3—Cheney 8, San Diego Waves 5; G4—Seattle 2, Texas Express 0; G5—x-Cheney 13, Texas Express 4; G6—San Diego Waves 9, Seattle 8
POOL B—G1—Great Bend Bat Cats 11, Game Day (Colo.) Saints 1; G2—Santa Barbara 1, Haysville 0; G3—Santa Barbara 6, Great Bend Bat Cats 1; G4—Game Day 8, Haysville 0; G5—x-Santa Barbara 8, Game Day 1; G6—Haysville 6, Great Bend Bat Cats 1
POOL C—G1—Kansas Cannons 3, San Antonio Angels 0; G2—Fairbanks 10, Colorado Cyclones 5; G3—Fairbanks 8, Kansas Cannons 5; G4—Colorado Cyclones 8, San Antonio Angels 0; G5—x-Fairbanks 13, San Antonio Angels 0; G6—Colorado Cyclones 8, Kansas Cannons 4
POOL D—G1—Lonestar Baseball 3, Derby 1; G1—San Diego Stars 4, Liberal 1; G3—Lonestar Baseball 6, San Diego Stars 5; G4—Derby 2, Liberal 1; G5—Liberal 11, x-Lonestar Baseball 2; G6—Derby 2,. San Diego Stars 1
CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET WEDNESDAY
G43—7 p.m.—Derby Twins (5-2) vs. Haysville Aviators (1-2)
G44—3:30 p.m.—San Diego Waves (2-1) vs. Kansas Cannons (1-2)
G45—Seattle Studs 15, Colorado Cyclones 0
G46—9:30 p.m.—Great Bend Bat Cats (4-3) vs. San Diego Stars (1-2)
G47—Cheney Diamond Dawgs (3-0) vs. winner G43
G48—Lonestar Baseball (2-1) vs. winner G44
G49—Santa Barbara (Calif.) Foresters (3-0) vs. Seattle Studs (2-2)
G50—3:30 p.m.--Fairbanks Goldpanners (3-0) vs. winner G46