BY JIM MISUNAS
HUTCHINSON – The growing rivalry between the Great Bend Bat Cats and Hutchinson Monarchs determined first place in the Sunflower Collegiate League Saturday at Hobart-Detter Field.
The Bat Cats gift wrapped Hutchinson's 6-5 victory with a ninth-inning error, a walk and two hit batters as the Monarchs (9-2) claimed first place and dropped the Bat Cats (8-3) into third place. The teams play again at 5 p.m. Monday at Wichita State's Eck Stadium. The Bat Cats play at Dodge City Sunday.
Hutchinson's Jordan Ardoin reached base on Nico Baumbach's error at third base. Reliever Chris Lenocker hit Easton Loyd with a pitch and intentionally walked Tanner White after throwing a strike. Lenocker hit White in the back on an 0-2 count for the game-ending play.
The Bat Cats' defense delivered several gems before committing the game-changing ninth-inning error. Centerfielder Alex Rodgers produced running catches on long fly balls by Jordan Ardoin (4th) and Garrett Anglim (7th). Left fielder Dylan Bloomquist relayed to shortstop Zane Spinn who tagged Tanner White out at third base after a double (7th inning).
Hutchinson's Sterling Sutcliffe drilled a second-inning right-field homer for a 1-0 lead.
Bat Cat Nico Baumbach doubled home Junior Torres and Jett Forrest after a third-inning walk and single. Andrew Enwiya's fourth-inning home run to left field made it 3-1.
Hutchinson's Breck Nowik singled home Carter Young for a 3-2 score after four innings.
Great Bend again responded with a two-run sixth inning. Sparkplug Enwiya led off with a double and scored on a Junior Torres sacrifice fly. Dylan Bloomquist doubled home Tyler Henry for a 5-2 lead.
For one of the few times this summer, the Bat Cats' relief pitchers were ineffective.
Hutchinson rallied for two sixth-inning runs with two out. Nowik singled home Carter Young and Jordan Ardoin singled in Nowik off reliever Brian Shadrick for a 5-4 score. Reliever Jarrett Seaton yielded a tying seventh-inning RBI single. Sutcliffe's single scored Carter Young for a 5-5 tie. Second baseman Noah Best relayed to shortstop Zane Spinn for an inning-ending double play on Nowik.
Bat Cats 002 102 000 – 5 8 1
Monarchs 010 102 101 – 6 10 1
Thornton, Shadrick (6), Seaton (8), Lenocker (9) and Enwiya. Gould, Meche (5), Pogue (9) and Harris. W–Pogue. L–Lenocker, 0-1. 2B–BC–Baumbach, Enwiya, Bloomquist; HM–White. HR–BC–Enwiya; HM–Sutcliffe.