SALINA — Things didn’t start well for Great Bend’s AAA American Legion baseball team at the Kansas Grand Slam Tournament in Salina.
The Chiefs fell 6-4 against Manhattan Manko to open up pool play.
Against the Wichita Reds Thursday evening, Great Bend fell 5-4.
Great Bend is in a pool with Manhattan, Wichita and the Buhler Nationals Blue.
Manhattan came out and hit Great Bend in the mouth early, scoring two runs in both the first and second innings.
“We, offensively, we didn’t compete well at the plate,” Chiefs head coach Michael Stettinger said. “We let the pitcher control the game instead of being aggressive.
“We didn’t execute at the plate.”
Great Bend finally responded in the top of the fourth, scoring a run when Tristan Hall drove in Brady Michel.
The Chiefs struck again with two runs in the top of the fifth, making it 4-3.
Jared Maneth and Bryce Beck scored on errors, two of three from Manhattan.
Manhattan recovered with two runs of its own in the bottom of the inning.
The Chiefs managed one more run in the top of the sixth, but couldn’t complete a rally. Maneth had an RBI double.
Tristan Hall went all six innings for the Chiefs, giving up six runs (three earned) on seven hits and eight walks. He had three strikeouts.
The Chiefs got off to a strong start against Wichita.
Great Bend scored four runs in the first inning.
“We had several hits in a row,” Stettinger said. “We even had a couple doubles in the inning. We were looking strong at the plate.
“Then, in the middle innings, we just started losing focus.”
Wichita rallied to top the Chiefs, who fell to 0-2 in the pool, making it unlikely for a chance to advance to Sunday’s bracket play.
“I don’t foresee a chance for us to advance to Sunday,” Stettinger said, “but I could be wrong.”
The Chiefs square off against Buhler on Saturday at 12:15 p.m. to close out pool play.
— Kevin Price