BY JIM MISUNAS
MCPHERSON — After three brilliant baseball games, the Great Bend Chiefs ran out of good fortune. The I-70 Bandits from Abilene and Chapman edged the Chiefs 5-4 in Saturday's semifinals in the Hooper Baseball Showcase. The Chiefs (11-3) played their best baseball of the summer enroute to the semifinals.
Stefan Spray lined out to third baseman Carter Taplin, who relayed to first base to double up Paco Hernandez, who singled, to end the ballgame. Spray (2-1) threw four shutout innings in a 99-pitch outing after shaky start where he yielded seven base hits. Chiefs' catcher Brad Beck led the defense by throwing out Carter Taplin (first inning) and Tate Milton (third inning).
The Chiefs scored in the first inning for the fourth consecutive tournament game with two runs. Red-hot Gavin Haberman drilled a two-run triple to score Jade Poe and Spray. The Bandits rallied when Eli Riegel hit an RBI single and Robbie Keener and Kayden Frazier hit sacrifice flies for a 3-2 lead.
Eli Riegel singled home Kaden Coup and Keener doubled home Riegel in a two-run third inning for a 5-2 lead. Tyler Stuhlsatz drove home Paco Hernandez on a fifth-inning groundout.
CHIEFS 11, MCPHERSON 2 (G3) — Sage Koelsch drilled a three-run triple to break open an 11-2 quarterfinal victory over McPherson in Saturday's Hooper Baseball Showcase. The Chiefs roughed up McPherson pitchers Dawson Feil and Luke Schroeder for 11 runs.
Chiefs pitcher Paco Hernandez (1-0) struck out five batters and yielded one earned run.
Brad Beck's single drove home Gavin Haberman. Koelsch's triple scored pinch runner Tyler Stuhlsatz, Joseph Moeder, Edwin Chavez. Koelsch and Bradley Hopkins scored on Stefan Spray's single for an 11-2 lead.
The Chiefs led 2-0 when Koelsch scored on a wild pitch and Jade Poe scored on a sacrifice fly by Haberman. Poe's second-inning single scored courtesy runner Joseph Moeder and Poe scored on a Paco Hernandez triple. Mathew Moeder's single scored Stuhlsatz in the third inning.
McPherson's Feil doubled home Treyton Pelnar in the first inning. Cade Wedel scored on a fourth-inning error.
CHIEFS 11, EL DORADO 3 (G2) — Gavin Haberman boosted his batting average from .166 to .310 with a perfect 5-for-five day at the plate to spark the Chiefs. Mathew Moeder enjoyed a perfect birthday with a 3-for-3 day with two runs scored and two RBIs in the nightcap.
Stefan Spray drove home three runs with a pair of hits. Spray started the scoring with a single that scored Stuhlsatz.
A five-run second inning led to a 6-0 lead. Edwin Chavez singled home Haberman. Mathew Moeder scored on a Stuhlsatz single. Chavez scored on a bases-loaded walk. Spray's double scored Koelsch and Stuhlsatz. Haberman scored on Mathew Moeder's third-inning sacrifice bunt.
After El Dorado scored two runs, Koelsch scored on a Hernandez groundout for an 8-2 lead. Mathew Moeder capped his day by scoring in a balk after his single scored Haberman for a 10-3 lead.
CHIEFS 3, SALINA FALCONS 1 (G1) — Ellinwood southpaw Tyler Stuhlsatz created a 72-pitch masterpiece to spark the Great Bend Chiefs past the Salina Falcons 3-1 in Friday's Hooper Baseball Showcase. The Chiefs downed El Dorado 10-3 to earn a top four seed for Saturday's quarterfinals.
Stuhlsatz (4-1) mixed an effective curveball with his fastball and yielded no earned runs with three strikeouts.
Chiefs first baseman Stefan Spray delivered the key defensive play when he caught Nick Shutz's second-inning line drive and doubled up Ty Miller. Catcher Brad Beck threw out Kade Barber on a seventh-inning attempted steal.
An easy-going windup and pinpoint accuracy kept the Falcons' batters off stride. Six Falcons put the ball in play on his first pitch.
"I throw the pitches I can control. I was pretty accurate with my pitches," Stuhlsatz said. "I threw strikes, let them hit the ball and my fielders made all the plays."
Stuhlsatz started with first-pitch fastballs, then adjusted to a first-pitch curveball after the first two innings. Leftfielder Paco Hernandez caught four fly balls, most notably Ty Miller's seventh-inning rocket to the warning track. Centerfielder Gavin Haberman grabbed a trio of fly ball outs.
"I watched what the hitters were doing and changed it up," he said. "Paco's last-inning catch pretty much saved the game."
The Chiefs continued their success in the first inning with two runs. Paco Hernandez singled in Sage Koelsch after a walk. Haberman singled home Hernandez for a 2-0 lead.
Salina's Brycen Mitchell reached on a sixth-inning error and scored on a Jayton Mathis groundout for a 2-1 score.
The Chiefs added a valuable sixth-inning insurance run when Mathew Moeder singled home Haberman. A bigger inning was prevented when two Chiefs' bunts failed. Pinch runner Bradley Hopkins was forced out on Jade Poe's bunt. Poe was tagged out at third base when Falcons' pitcher Mathis fielded Brad Beck's bunt and pivoted towards third base.
Great Bend 210 010 0 — 4 7 0
I-70 Bandits 302 000 x — 5 8 2
Spray and Beck. Coup, Milton (6) and Keener. W—Coup. L—Spray. 2B—I-70—Coup, Keener.
Great Bend 221 06 — 11 9 2
McPherson 16 100 01 — 2 3 3
Hernandez and Beck. Feil, Schroeder (6) and Jones. W—Hernandez, 1-0. L—Feil. 2B—GB—Koelsch; M—Feil. 3B—GB—Hernandez.
El Dorado 000 210 — 3 2 0
Great Bend 151 12x — 10 11 0
Chavez, Koelsch (4), Poe (6) and Beck. W—Chavez 2-1. L—Baker. 2B—GB—Haberman, Spray.
Salina Falcons 000 001 0 — 1 3 0
Great Bend 200 001 x — 3 6 1
Mathis, Cooper (6) and Bolen, Mitchell (6). Stuhlsatz and Beck. W—Stuhlsatz, 4-1. L—Mathis.
GREAT BEND CHIEFS (11-3)—W Dodge City 3-2 (W Spray 1-0); L Dodge City 4-7 (L Stuhlsatz 0-1); W Larned 5-4 (W Koelsch 1-0); W Larned 4-3 (W Poe 1-0); L Hays Eagles 7-9 (L Chavez 0-1); W Hays Eagles 3-2 (W Stuhlsatz 1-1); W Chiefs 8, SK Elite 0 (W Stuhlsatz 2-1); W Chiefs 10, Larned 0 (W Spray 2-0); W Dodge City 9-4 (W Stuhlsatz 3-1); W Dodge City 3-0 (W Chavez 1-1); W Salina Falcons 3-1 (W Stuhlsatz 4-1); W El Dorado 10-3 (W Chavez 2-1); W McPherson 3-1 (W Hernandez 1-0); I-70 Bandits 5, Chiefs 4 (L Spray 2-1)
HOOPER SHOWCASE—Chiefs 3, Salina Falcons 1; Wichita Aeros 7, Emporia 3; Topeka Scrappers 3, Newton 2; Emporia 10, El Dorado 1; Topeka Scrappers 16, Liberal 2; Buhler Nationals 11, Fort Scott Freedom 4; Chiefs 10, El Dorado 3; Kansas Senators 4, Wichita Aeros 0; I-70 Bandits 9, Fort Scott Freedom 1; McPherson 5, Kansas Senators 1; Kansas Crush 12, Liberal 5; Buhler Nationals 10 Newton 3; McPherson 6, Salina Falcons 1; I-70 Bandits 9, Kansas Crush 0
CHAMPIONSHIP—I-70 Bandits 7, I-70 Bandits 0; SEMIFINALS—I-70 Bandits 5, Chiefs 4; Topeka Scrappers 7, Buhler Nationals 4; QUARTERFINALS—I-70 Bandits 15, Wichita Aeros 4; Chiefs 11 McPherson 2; Topeka Scrappers 10, Kansas Senators 0; Buhler Nationals 7, Emporia 2
CONSOLATION—McPherson 5, Wichita Aeros 4; Kansas Senators 12, Emporia 3; 9TH PLACE—Newton 7, Salina Falcons 0; Salina Falcons 7, Newton 11, El Dorado 2; Salina Falcons 5, Liberal 4; El Dorado 5, Fort Scott 2; Liberal 7, Fort Scott 0