BUHLER — The Great Bend American Legion Braves celebration to the Class A Zone baseball championship was delayed 41/2 hours Thursday.
The Braves barely hung on for an 11-9 winners bracket victory over McPherson that ended a seven-hour marathon from start-to-finish. The Braves (25-12) advance to the championship game, which will be played at 9 a.m. Saturday. The Buhler Nationals, Pratt 86ers and McPherson will battle for a championship spot.
That celebration was placed on hold when Mother Nature intervened. The Braves led 10-4 when a thunderstorm stopped play at 4:55 p.m. The game was delayed after waves of rain and lightning passed through town.
Braves starter Colin Hall worked 61/3 innings before exceeding the 105-pitch count. Reliever Eddie Bujanda struggled to record the final two outs and yielded five runs. The Braves contributed three walks and two errors. Bujanda struck out Kourtney Craig for the final out.
Townshend Kurth drove in three runs to lead the Braves.
The 17-and-under Braves played sharp baseball one day after surviving a 17-16 winners bracket semifinal victory over the Pratt 86ers.
The Braves took advantage of 10 walks and two hit batters to race to a 9-0 lead after 21/2 innings. Five runners scored after reaching base without a hit. Four runners scored on wild pitches.
Kurth scored on Jesus Bujanda’s groundout for a first-inning run. Joey Soupiset and Eddie Bujanda started a four-run second inning with singles and scored. Calan Haberman’s walk, Kurth’s hit by pitch and Jesus Bujanda’s hit by pitch forced home three runs. Nahum Olivas scored on a wild pitch.
Kurth delivered a two-run single to spark a four-run third inning. Haberman singled home Riley Smith. Kurth’s single scored Olivas and Haberman. Kurth scored on a wild pitch for a 9-0 lead.
McPherson scored three runs on no hits when Colin Hall walked two batters and hit Jakob Feil. Chandler Wiard scored on an error. Devin Feil and Shane Starkel drove in runs on groundouts.
Soupiset scored on a fourth-inning wild pitch for a 10-3 lead. Jakob Feil scored on gabe Hoover’s single. Shortstop Kurth started a double play with a relay to first baseman Eddie Bujanda, who threw out Hoover at third base. Olivas scored a valuable insurance run on a seventh-inning wild ptch.
BRAVES 11, MCPHERSON 9
Great Bend 144 100 1 – 11 9 4
McPherson 003 010 5 – 9 8 3
Hall, Eddie Bujanda (7) and Jesus Bujanda. Wiard, Stout (2), D. Feil (4), Hoover (7) and Craig. W—Hall. L—Wiard.
ZONE 4 BUHLER
HAYS, WINNER QUALIFIES FOR STATE
Game 12, 9 a.m.—Great Bend Braves 25-12 vs. winner game 11
Game 13, 11:30 a.m.—Winner game 12, vs. loser game 12
Game 10, 3:15 p.m.—Buhler Nationals 21-19 vs. Pratt 12-7
Game 11, 5:30 p.m.—McPherson 16-8 vs. winner game 10
Game 9—Great Bend Braves 11, McPherson 9
Game 5—McPherson 16 Russell 4
Game 6—Great Bend Braves 17, Pratt 16, 8 innings
Game 7—Buhler Nationals 11, Russell 0
Game 8—Pratt 8, Hays Eagles 4
Game 1—Russell 12, Hays Eagles 11
Game 2—Pratt 86ers 13, Buhler Nationals 6
Game 3—Great Bend Braves 36, Cunningham 0
Game 4—Buhler Nationals 19, Cunningham 0