BY JIM MISUNAS
That’s no problem for the Great Bend Chiefs.
The Great Bend Chiefs pitched a pair of shutouts to advance to Sunday’s Class AAA winners’s bracket Legion baseball finals against the Hays Eagles.
The Chiefs blanked the Salina Falcons 10-0 after beating the Hutchinson Colts 12-0 in Saturday’s opening games. The Hays Eagles rolled past Nickerson 18-5 to reach the winner’s bracket finals.
CHIEFS 10, SALINA FALCONS 0 (G4) — Salina lefthander Sheldon Perez shut out the Chiefs for three innings the last time the teams met. The third time was the charm for the Chiefs, who ripped the crafty lefty for seven runs. The Falcons had beaten the Chiefs three of four times.
“Perez held us down a couple of times, so they figured he could do that again, said Chief Alex Schremmer, who finished the game pitching and delivered one of five doubles. “That was fun tonight. We were hot earlier and kept it going.”
Great Bend Chief coach Travis Kurth said the Chiefs were patient at the plate and hit the opposite way against Perez.
“We made really good adjustments. We waited on his pitches,” Kurth said. “We’ve done a great job winning two games and put ourselves in good position.”
In theory, the Chiefs (24-13) are one win away from a likely AAA state berth. If the Chiefs beat Hays Sunday, the losers bracket favorite Salina Falcons would have to win four consecutive games to steal a state berth. Even if Great Bend loses Sunday, they’ll have to beat the losers bracket survivor one time for a AAA state berth.
Calan Haberman ripped a two-run double and Joey Soupiset delivered three hits and two RBIs in the run-rule rout. Schremmer, Carson Smith, Colin Hall, Riley Smith and Nahum Olivas each drove in one run.
Right fielder Olivas made spectacular catches against Jason Duong in the third inning and outdid himself with a diving catch against Zach Isaacson in the fourth inning.
“Nahum was the ‘man’ in the field tonight,” Kurth said. “Those were great plays by Nahum Olivas.”
Second baseman Riley Smith delivered his best defensive play of the summer with a flip to shortstop Schremmer for a third-inning double play.
Chiefs pitchers Colin Hall and Joey Souipset will have to sit out Sunday, but everyone else is eligible to throw in Sunday’s 5 p.m. game.
HAYS EAGLES 18, NICKERSON 5 (G3) – The Hays Eagles powered past Nickerson with six extra-base hits. Palmer Hutchison and Cody Petersen homered. William Sennett and Brady Kreutzer tripled. Hutchinson and Josh Haynes doubled. Kreutzer drove home four runs. Sennett, Petersen and Hutchison drove in two runs.
Nickerson’s Tanner Schrag, a Barton Community College recruit, doubled, singled and scored two runs. Pitcher Carson Cornelius, a Barton signee, yielded seven runs, just two earned.
CHIEFS 12, HUTCHINSON COLTS 0 (G2) – The Chiefs tagged Hutchinson starter Trent Turner (4-2) for 11 runs, six unearned as they took advantage of three Colts errors. Chiefs starter Joey Soupiset (6-1) struck out five batters in two innings. He struck out Weston Kraus with the bases loaded in the second inning.
Kurth tripled home Alex Schremmer and Kurth scored on Carson Smith’s first-inning groundout for a 2-0 lead.
Two Colts errors opened the door for a nine-run third inning. Kurth doubled home Calan Haberman and Schremmer. Joey Soupiset, Riley Smith, Haberman, Schremmer and Carson Smith delivered RBI singles. Schremmer and Soupiset scored on errors. Layton Holden scored the Chiefs’ final run on Haberman’s single that escaped the first baseman.
NICKERSON 3, BELOIT 0 (G1) – Nickerson pitcher Tanner Schrag threw a five-hit shutout in a complete-game effort.
Nickerson’s Noah Salazar scored on Keegan McDonald’s first-inning error. Carson Cornelius singled home pinch runner Wade Koon after Koon stole second and third base. Gage Oller scored a sacrifice fly by Mason Munz in the second inning.
GB Chiefs 403 3 — 10 10 0
Salina Falcons 000 0 — 0 2 0
Perez, Long (3), Suarez (4) and Baughman. Hall, Schremmer (3) and Carson Smith. W—Hall, 6-2. L—Perez 2-3. 2B—GB—Schremmer, Soupiset, Riley Smith, Hall, Haberman.
GB Chiefs 029 1 — 12 13 1
Hutchinson 000 0 — 0 1 3
Soupiset, Holden (3), Haberman (4) and Hall. Trent Turner, Fairbank (4) and Goldsmith. W–Soupiset, 6-1. L–Turner, 4-2. 2B–GB–Kurth, Schremmer. 3B–GB–Kurth.
Beloit 000 000 0 — 0 4 1
Nickerson 210 000 x — 3 5 2
Keegan McDonald and Ferguson. Schrag and Eaton. W–Schrag, 3-0. L–K. McDonald. 2B–N–Schrag, Garcia.
Hays Eagles 10(15) 2 — 18 10 2
Nickerson 004 1 — 5 6 3
Riggs, Dreiling (3) and Lummus. Cornelius, McBeth (3) and Eaton. W–Riggs 7-2. L–Cornelius, 2-2. 2B–H–Hutchison, Haynes. 3B–N–Schrag; H–Kreutzer, Sennett. HR–H–Hutchison, Petersen.