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Marysville rallies past Great Bend Braves, 9-5
Kern's hitting sparks Braves' upset over Pittsburg
kale kern1
LORI FARMER Great Bend Tribune Great Bend Brave pitcher Kale Kern earns a save against Chanute.


EL DORADO – The clock struck midnight when the Great Bend Braves finished a doubleheader day that started at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

Great Bend Brave Kale Kern enjoyed a rare day in the middle of every critical situation at the American Legion A state baseball tournament.

Kern rescued the Braves with clutch hitting to beat Pittsburg 8-7; then scored on Trey Milsap's 3-run inside-the-park homer against Marysville for a 4-0 winners bracket lead.

Kern started a relief appearance against Marysville with a perfect pickoff to preserve a 4-3 lead. The Braves added an insurance run on Milsap's perfect bunt that scored Ian Premer.

Up 5-3, the Braves were nine outs away from advancing to Saturday's championship game when the momentum shifted. 

Marysville lineup reached base six times against pitcher Kern to build a 7-5 lead. Marysville (31-2) added two runs for a 9-5 winners bracket victory to advance to Saturday's 11 a.m. championship game.

Now, the Braves need three victories to capture a A state baseball championship. The Braves (12-14) play at 1:30 p.m. Friday against the Pittsburg/El Dorado winner. 

Great Bend roared to a 4-0 lead behind starting pitcher Austin Gilbert, who threw three shutout innings. Peyden Oelger scored on a first-inning wild pitch. Milsap's clutch inside-the-park homer drove home Jaxon Wondra and Kern, who reached on Marysville third-inning errors.

Braves coach Randy Beck was unable to solve Great Bend's pitching, which yielded nine runs in the final three innings.

Marysville's Wes Anderson and Carter Olson scored on fourth-inning wild pitches and Olson doubled home Gavin Turk for a 4-3 score. 

Two walks and a hit batter ignited a 4-run fifth inning. Anderson singled home two runs. Two runs scored on Olson's infield single that first baseman Ian Premer fielded, but pitcher Kern missed covering first base. Anderson scored a critical seventh run with superb baserunning.

Marysville's Brandon Schmelzle tripled home a run and he scored on a sixth-inning wild pitch for a 9-5 final.

BRAVES 8, PITTSBURG 7 – Despite 26 baserunners, Great Bend’s chance of upsetting Pittsburg in the A Legion state tournament depended on one final opportunity to deliver a base hit with the bases loaded.

Like the postman, Kern delivered with a bases-clearing double that sparked a wild 8-7 upset victory over Pittsburg in a second-round Legion state tournament game. The Braves' third chance with the bases loaded scored Gavin Gilkison, Peyden Oelger and Jaxon Wondra for a 7-6 lead.

When Pittsburg tied the score 7-7, Kern delivered again with the game-winning single that scored Gilkison. Oelger (3-0) earned the victory with two scoreless innings. Gilbert stranded the tying runner on base by retiring Cooper Vaughn to end the ballgame.

The Braves failed to score in the first two innings after loading the bases. Trey Milsap singled home Kern for a third-inning run to salvage a run after a leadoff walk and double. Oelger and Ian Premer drove home runs with groundouts.

After trailing 4-2, Soupiset and Gilkison walked. Soupiset scored on Oelger's single. Wondra singled to load the bases to set up Kern's game-changing double.

Pittsburg scored three runs on errors, twice after batters walked and once on a wild pitch. Brady Badert scored the tying run on a throwing error for a 7-7 tie.

Great Bend 103 010 0 – 5 7 1

Marysville 000 342 x – 9 6 2

Gilbert, Kern (4), Poe (5), Hekele (6) and Saffa. LeDuc, Scheele (5) and Haefele. W—Scheele. L—Kern. 2B—GB—M—Olson. 3B—GB—Premer; M—Schmelzle. HR—GB—Milsap.

Great Bend 001 241 0 – 8 12 4

Pittsburg 003 310 0 – 7 11 1

Milsap, Kern (4), Oelger (5), Gilbert (7) and Saffa. Wiles, Simmons (3), Burgess (5), Nickle (5) and Jones. W—Oelger, 3-0. L—Nickle. 2B—GB—Premer, Kern; P—Badart, Wiles.

Great Bend 001 241 0 – 8 12 4

Pittsburg 003 310 0 – 7 11 1

Milsap, Kern (4), Oelger (5), Gilbert (7) and Saffa. Wiles, Simmons (3), Burgess (5), Nickle (5) and Jones. W—Oelger, 3-0. L—Nickle. 2B—GB—Premer, Kern; P—Badart, Wiles.


SATURDAY G14–Marysville 31-2 vs. G13 winner, 11 a.m.; G15 if needed

FRIDAY–G12 11 a.m.–Pittsburg 19-5 vs. El Dorado, 14-13; G13, 1:30 p.m.–Great Bend 12-14 vs. G12 winner 

THURSDAY—Great Bend 8, Pittsburg 7; Marysville 6, El Dorado 5; Pittsburg 12, Seneca 7; El Dorado 12, Ottawa 3; Marysville 9, Great Bend 5

WEDNESDAY–El Dorado 10, Garnett 0; Marysville 12, Seneca 2; Pittsburg 10, Ottawa 0; Great Bend 1, Topeka Senators 0, 9 innings; Garnett 16, Seneca 6; Ottawa 6, Topeka Senators 3