BY JIM MISUNAS
WICHITA — Great Bend's chance to surprise Wichita Carroll's baseball team hinged on a bases-loaded no/out situation against Wichita Carroll pitcher Shane Holman.
Hunter Herrman beat out a third-inning infield single and Tyler Stuhlsatz walked. Koehn Ribordy bunted to Holman, but Carroll's back-up second baseman Braxton Martin failed to cover first base to take the throw.
Had the Panthers put the baseball into play like they had during the season, they would've taken the lead.
But the hard-throwing Holman responded like a champion by striking out Carson Umphres, Owen Kaiser and Ian Premer to preserve a 1-0 Carroll lead.
"It was our inning to open things up," said Great Bend coach Randy Beck. "We swung through a few pitches and Holman made good pitches. Had we scored in the second inning, it's a different ballgame. We've got to do a better job with 2-strike hitting, put the ball in play and put pressure on them. Unfortunately, it didn't work out for us today."
Holman struck out eight batters to complete a 7-inning shutout for a 6-0 victory over Great Bend in Thursday's 5A state baseball tournament. Edwin Chavez, Herrman and Koehn Ribordy delivered 7th-inning singles. But Holman retired Umphres on a hard-hit grounder to shortstop to end the ballgame.
"We were in the ballgame until the end," Beck said. "If you get momentum, things change in a hurry. We found some holes for base hits."
Great Bend made two amazing defensive plays. Second baseman Chavez made a leaping catch on a Kolby Girrens sixth-inning line drive. Centerfielder Bradley Hopkins delivered a dazzling running catch on Jason Unrein's hard-hit fifth-inning ball.
Carroll's Austin Selenke scored after a first-inning error. Isaac Lager scored with 2-out when a third-inning hit by Reed Haneberg bounced off Stuhlsatz's shoe in right field. Van Haneberg scored on a fourth-inning wild pitch.
Three mistakes, three Golden Eagle runs.
"We made great defensive plays, but had untimely errors. That's baseball," Beck said. "You can't give good baseball teams extra opportunities. Good baseball teams take advantage of the other team's mistakes."
Umphres (5-4) pitched a solid game and kept Carroll off balance with a nice mix of pitches.
"That wasn't my best outing because I could've made a few better pitches," Umphres said. "Good baseball teams take advantage of small mistakes."
The Panthers (13-10) qualified for 5A state for the first time since 2019 with six freshmen and sophomore starters. Great Bend won state baseball titles in 1955, 1995 and 1998.
"I'm proud because these guys battled all season,' Beck said. "We fell short, but they did a great job."
Great Bend 000 000 0 — 0 6 2
Wichita Carroll 101 202 x — 6 7 1
Umphres, Stuhlsatz (6) and Kaiser. Holman and Girrens. W—Holman. L—Umphres, 5-4. 2B—WC—Reed Haneberg. 3B—WC—Van Haneberg, Selenke.
FRIDAY'S SEMIFINALS—DeSoto 20-3 vs. St. Thomas Aquinas 20-3, 11 a.m.; Wichita Carroll 22-1 vs. Goddard Eisenhower 18-4, 1:15; FIRST ROUND—DeSoto 3, Spring Hill 2; St. Thomas Aquinas 5, Goddard 0; Wichita Carroll 6, Great Bend 0; Goddard Eisenhower 7, Topeka Seaman 0