One sent home.
Roger Ward has said on many occasions that it’s fun to send teams home.
That is exactly what his Great Bend Chiefs challenge became after an opening round loss in the AAA State American Legion Tournament at the Great Bend Sports Complex.
The Chiefs sent their first team home Thursday with a 13-4 win over Emporia. McPherson ended the Chiefs' season Friday morning with an 11-7 victory that ended Great Bend's season with a 27-17 record.
“That’s the only thing we can do right now, “ Coach Ward said. “Hopefully this gives us some momentum and we keep it going.”
Great Bend got on the board first when Brady Michel singled to left scoring Kyle Lang with two out in the third.
Brayden Smith opened things up with a bases clearing double down the left field line to score Bryce Lytle, Brady Michel, and Jared Maneth.
“Smith ignited us with that double,” Coach Ward said. “That started us and we kept the line moving pretty good in three of our last four innings.”
Armed with a 4-0 lead, Anson Hall kept putting up zeros. Hall walked a pair and gave up a double in the first but locked in after that, shutting out Emporia in his three innings.
The Chiefs added to their lead in the fourth. Konner Ireland started the inning with a hit by pitch, moved to third on a perfectly executed hit and run by Lang and scored on a squeeze bunt by Brice Kaiser.
That opened the floodgates for the Chiefs. A pair of errors, a couple hit batsmen and a wild pitch aided in a 4-run run inning and an 8-0 lead.
With the big lead Coach Ward went to his bullpen to save innings.
It was a move that made things interesting for a while. Kody Lang walked the first two batters he faced and struggled with his control.
Later in the inning Ty Salas singled in Jacob Ziegenhirt and Frank Yackovitch to make it 8-3. Emporia added another run to make it 8-4.
“Kody has been pitching well,” Coach Ward said. “He just struggled today. I won’t hesitate to go back to him tomorrow.”
Hunter Hanzlick finished the inning then set down Emporia in order in the fifth to settle down the Chiefs.
Great Bend batted around in the sixth, scoring five times. Michel tripled in the inning and Peyton Mauler doubled.
Great Bend moves on in the bracket to a 10 am game this morning.
Great Bend 13, Emporia 4
Great Bend 004 405 13 9 1
Emporia 000 400 4 6 4
Hall, Lang (4), Hanzlick (4) and Maneth. Jones, Slayden (4), Grando (4), Keller (6) and Moore. W - Hall. L - Jones. S - Hanzlick. 2B - Smith, Mauler - Great Bend; Slayden - Emporia. 3B - Michel - Great Bend.
Newton 3, Oskaloosa 1
Newton advanced in the loser’s bracket with a 3-1 win overy Oskaloosa to start play Thursday.
The Knights got a strong pitching performance from Kadin Davis in the win. Davis went the distance, allowing just one run on five hits.
The lone Oskaloosa run put the River Bandits up 1-0 in the top of the fourth when Ethanol Brungardt doubled in Jaxson Sullivan.
Newton answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning as Cole Koerner and Warren Dietz started the inning with a hit and walk then came in to score.
Newton added a run in the fifth when Dietz singled in Davis.
AAA State Legion Tournament
Great Bend Sports Complex
G1—McPherson 11, Oskaloosa 3
G2—Chanute 6, Newton 3
G3—Salina Falcons 4, Emporia 2
G4——Ottawa 9, Great Bend 0
G5—Newton 3, Oskaloosa 1 (Oskalooa eliminated)
G6—Great Bend Chiefs 13, Emporia 4 (Emporia eliminated)
G7—6 p.m.—Chanute 6, McPherson 3
G8— 8:30 p.m.—Ottawa 10, Salina Falcons 0
G9—McPherson 11, Great Bend Chiefs 7 (Chiefs eliminated)
G10—12:30 p.m.—Newton (17-17) vs. Salina Falcons (16-19) (loser eliminated)
G11— 5 p.m.—Ottawa (32-6) vs. Chanute (25-5)
G12—8:30 p.m—McPherson (24-6) vs. Winner Game 10 (loser eliminated)
G13—10 a.m.—Winner G12 vs loser G11 (loser eliminated)
G14—12:30 p.m.—Winners Games 11, 13
G15—10 a.m.—same teams as G14 (if needed)