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Great Bend Chiefs win second game
Defending champion Ottawa beats Great Bend
great bend1
Great Bend Chiefs reliever Jacob Milton throws in the Class AAA American Legion State Baseball Tournament at the Great Bend Sports Complex. Ottawa won 9-0. - photo by Photo by Dan Witt

By Mike Marzolf
Special to the Tribune

Drawing the defending state champion was a daunting task for the Great Bend Chiefs at the 2016 AAA American Legion State Tournament.
It was a task the Chiefs were not quite up to on opening night at the Great Bend Sports Complex Wednesday. Ottawa run-ruled Chiefs 9-0 to open defense of its title.
The win moved Ottawa (31-6) into the winner’s bracket semifinal against Salina, a 4-2 winner over Emporia. Great Bend will take on Emporia in an elimination game at 12:30 p.m.
“Ottawa is a good team,” Great Bend Coach Roger Ward said. “They are the defending champions and came out and played well.
“Now our goal becomes to see how many teams we can send home. That can be fun. We will come back and try to have some fun.
In the final game of the night, the Arrows jumped to an early lead against the Chiefs then rode the strong pitching of Keegan Finch to the win.
Ottawa took control in the top of the second, loading the bases with no out on an infield single, fielder’s choice and walk.
The Arrows took the lead when Merrick Brown singled in Dayne Jung with one out and Alex Stepp followed with a 2-run single to left.
Great Bend avoided further trouble as pitcher Brayden Smith recorded a strike out to end the inning with runners on second and third.
Back-to-back walks to start the third inning brought Brett Basye in relief. After a sacrifice bunt, Finch helped himself with a triple to right to score Trenton Ferguson and Jung. Finch came home on a perfect squeeze bunt by Clayton Evans and Ottawa led 6-0.
Meanwhile, Finch was cruising along. He allowed only a lead off single in the first and another in the fourth.
Ottawa made the hole even deeper for Great Bend in the fifth with three more runs on one hit thanks to a couple Chiefs errors in the inning. That put the Arrows in position to end the game by run-rule in the bottom of the inning.
Jonathan Nash came in to pitch the fifth inning, striking out a pair and yielding a walk to end the game.
Ottawa (31-6) will take on the Salina Falcons (16-18) at 8 p.m. Thursday for the right to move into the winner’s bracket final. Great Bend (26-16) will play Emporia (15-19) at 12:30 p.m.
• SALINA 4, EMPORIA 2 — The Salina Falcons held on for a 4-2 win over Emporia in the evening opener to advance to winner’s bracket semifinal play.
The game was a pitching battle between Alex Croucher of Emporia and Kody Berry of Salina. For five innings the two traded 0’s with the only exception a 3-run second inning for Salina.
Salina started the inning with three straight hits – the last one a home run by Mason Lundgren that gave the Falcons a 3-0 lead.
Salina added a single run in the sixth to make it a 4-0 game. Emporia rallied off the bullpen of Salina for two runs in the seventh – a 2-run, 2-out single by Alec Keller.
Berry went six innings of 2-hit baseball for the win. Garrett Campion got the final out for a save for the Falcons. Croucher went the distance for Emporia and was the hard-luck loser.
Ottawa 033 03 — 9 6 0
Great Bend 000 00 — 0 2 4
Finch, Nash (5) and Brown; Smith, Basye (3), Milton (5) and Hall. W—Finch. L—Smith. 3B—Finch, Ottawa.

AAA State Legion Tournament
Great Bend Sports Complex
Wednesday’s Games
G1—McPherson 11, Oskaloosa 3
G2—Chanute 6, Newton 3
G3—Salina Falcons 4, Emporia 2
G4——Ottawa 9, Great Bend 0

Thursday’s Games
G5—Newton 3, Oskaloosa 1 (Oskaloosa eliminated)
G6—Great Bend Chiefs 13, Emporia 4 (Emporia eliminated)
G7—6 p.m.—McPherson (23-5) vs. Chanute (24-5)
G8— 8:30 p.m.—Ottawa (31-6) vs. Salina Falcons (16-18)

Friday’s Games
G9—10 a.m.—Great Bend Chiefs (27-16) vs. Loser G7 (loser eliminated)
G10—12:30 p.m.—Newton (17-17) vs. Loser G8 (loser eliminated)
G11— 5 p.m.—Winners games 7, 8
G12—8:30 p.m—Winners Games 9, 10 (loser eliminated)

Saturday’s Games
G13—10 a.m.—Winner G12 vs loser G11 (loser eliminated)
G14—12:30 p.m.—Winners Games 11, 13

Sunday’s Game
G15—10 a.m.—same teams as G14 (if needed)