BY JIM MISUNAS
HUTCHINSON — On another day, Great Bend Bat Cat right fielder Tyler Henry would've enjoyed Play of the Day with a leaping catch of Grant Lake's fourth-inning line shot. That amazing catch occurred after Henry smashed into the right-field fencing on a third-inning fly ball by Romel Martinez.
It's a long and challenging road back for the Great Bend Bat Cats after a 9-4 loss to the Haysville Aviators Thursday at Hobart Detter Field in the NBC Midwest Baseball Regional. The Bat Cats melted in the 100-degree heat.
Bat Cats starter Zach Thornton (2-2) struggled and the Bat Cats failed to deliver clutch hits with runners on base despite 21 baserunners. The Bat Cats yielded two unearned runs and three runners scored after drawing walks.
The Bat Cats hit into three double plays. Zane Spinn hit into a first-inning twin killing. Alex Rodgers hit into a 9-3 sixth-inning double play. Rodgers was called out on a eighth-inning double play when interference was ruled against baserunner Kyle Gates at second base.
Bat Cats newcomer Jordan Maxson (Maize, Kansas State) enjoyed a strong debut by reaching base four times and scoring the first run on a second-inning error.
Aviator Cole Broughton delivered a pair of doubles and drove home three runs. Leadoff batter Cole Lee drilled a two-run double to key a five-run second inning off Thornton. Traelon Yarbrough and Isaac Kim drove home runs to stake Aviator starter Corey Wilson (3-1) to a 5-1 lead.
Broughton drilled a two-run double and scored on a third-inning error for an 8-1 Aviator lead after three innings. Broughton doubled home Yarbrough in the fifth inning for the Aviators' final run.
Gates singled home Connor Allen in the fourth inning. Gates singled home Allen after an eighth-inning triple. Zane Spinn tripled and scored on Austin Bonnel's ninth-inning single.
The Bat Cats left the bases loaded in the second and ninth innings. They stranded two baserunners in the third and fourth innings.
The Bat Cats (25-14) must finish ahead of Dodge City, Derby and Haysville in the Midwest Regional to qualify for the 2021 NBC World Series. Great Bend plays the Cheney/Hutchinson loser at 1 p.m. Friday.
Sunflower Collegiate League champion Hutchinson (30-9), last year’s NBC runner-up Cheney (25-6) and the Wichita Sluggers (25-12) have secured NBC berths.
GB Bat Cats 010 100 011 — 4 12 2
Haysville 053 010 00x — 9 12 4
Thornton, Nedved (3), Stich (6) and Allen. Wilson, Bagwell (8) and Stephens. W—Wilson, 3-1. L—Thornton 2-2. 2B—H—Broughton 2, Lee, Kim. 3B—GB—Allen, Spinn.
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