Bat Cats achieve late-night magic
BY JIM MISUNAS
WICHITA — The Great Bend Bat Cats' magic is officially back. The clock struck midnight as the baseball Bat Cats survived to play another day.
The Bat Cats scored three eighth-inning runs to shock the Wichita Sluggers 6-3 in Tuesday’s elimination game at the NBC Baseball World Series. The Sluggers had beaten the Bat Cats in four of five meetings.
Daunte Freeman singled and Dawson Pomeroy doubled to start a three-run eighth-inning rally. Freeman sprinted home on Chandler Bloomer's shallow fly ball to centerfield for a 4-3 lead. Chase Gibson’s two-run double drove home Pomeroy and Brady Michel with two valuable insurance runs against reliever Chance Crowley for a 6-3 lead.
Reliever Zach Curry worked three scoreless innings to earn the hard-earned victory. Bat Cat starter Zach Pratt worked six innings on 105 pitches yielding five hits and four strikeouts.
The Great Bend Bat Cats (25-17) play their Sunflower rival Hutchinson at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. The winner is guaranteed two more NBC pool games starting Thursday.
"We finally got them. That was really a good win," said Roger Ward, Great Bend Bat Cats coach. "We stayed mentally tough. We had guys find their swings tonight.”
The Sluggers led 2-0. Mason Hartman scored on Ryan Koval's third-inning sacrifice fly. Tanner White scored on a bases-loaded walk. Colton Bertus was alertly thrown out by pitcher Zach Pratt at home on a wild pitch that deflected back to him.
Bat Cat Ryan Monson delivered a clutch two-run third-inning single to score Gibson and Nolan Riley after a walk and single. Cade Gonzales scored on a throwing error by right fielder Tanner White for a 3-2 lead. Slugger pitcher Matt Hunt worked out of trouble by retiring Freeman and Pomeroy.
Wichita Slugger pinch runner Easton Elliott scored on Tanner White's seventh-inning groundout for a 3-3 tie. Josh Jones doubled and Hartman reached on a bunt when Pratt failed to cover first base. Bat Cat catcher Gibson prevented a big inning by throwing out Hartman on an attempted steal at second base.
The Sunflower Collegiate League teams compiled a 9-1 record heading into back-to-back league showdowns for Great Bend against Wichita and Hutchinson.
Wichita Sluggers 002 000 100 — 3 7 2
GB Bat Cats 003 000 03x — 6 9 2
Hunt, Ash (4), Short (8), Crowley (8) and Slaughter. Pratt, Curry (7) and Gibson. W—Curry. L—Ash. 2B—GB—Gibson, Bloomer, Pomeroy; W—Jones.
WICHITA STATE, ECK STADIUM
BRACKET PLAY JULY 30
Hutchinson Monarchs 7, Dodge City A’s 1
Great Bend Bat Cats 6, Wichita Sluggers 3
Derby Twins 5, Wichita 316 Elite 2
Hays Larks 2, Denver Cougars 0
BRACKET PLAY JULY 31
Derby Twins 9, Hays Larks 7
Great Bend Bat Cats 24, Hutchinson Monarchs 10
CHAMPIONSHIP POOL PLAY
POOL A—G1—San Diego Waves 3, Texas Express 2; G2—Cheney 5, Seattle 4; G3—Cheney 8, San Diego Waves 5; G4—Seattle 2, Texas Express 0; G5—x-Cheney 13, Texas Express 4; G6—San Diego Waves 9, Seattle 8
POOL B—G1—Great Bend Bat Cats 11, Game Day (Colo.) Saints 1; G2—Santa Barbara 1, Haysville 0; G3—Santa Barbara 6, Great Bend Bat Cats 1; G4—Game Day 8, Haysville 0; G5—x-Santa Barbara 8, Game Day 1; G6—Haysville 6, Great Bend Bat Cats 1
POOL C—G1—Kansas Cannons 3, San Antonio Angels 0; G2—Fairbanks 10, Colorado Cyclones 5; G3—Fairbanks 8, Kansas Cannons 5; G4—Colorado Cyclones 8, San Antonio Angels 0; G5—x-Fairbanks 13, San Antonio Angels 0; G6—Colorado Cyclones 8, Kansas Cannons 4
POOL D—G1—Lonestar Baseball 3, Derby 1; G1—San Diego Stars 4, Liberal 1; G3—Lonestar Baseball 6, San Diego Stars 5; G4—Derby 2, Liberal 1; G5—Liberal 11, x-Lonestar Baseball 2; G6—Derby 2,. San Diego Stars 1
CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET WEDNESDAY
G43—7 p.m.—Derby Twins (6-1) vs. Haysville Aviators (1-2)
G44—3:30 p.m.—San Diego Waves (2-1) vs. Kansas Cannons (1-2)
G45—10 p.m.—Colorado Cyclones (2-1) vs. Seattle Studs (1-2)
G46—9:30 p.m.—Great Bend Bat Cats (4-3) vs. San Diego Stars (1-2)
G47—Cheney Diamond Dawgs (3-0) vs. winner G43
G48—Lonestar Baseball (2-1) vs. winner G44
G49—Santa Barbara (Calif.) Foresters (3-0) vs. winner G45
G50—Fairbanks Goldpanners (3-0) vs. winner G46