BY JIM MISUNAS
Larned's Kaden Pontius delivered a two-run single as the Indians clinched a A state baseball berth with a 9-3 victory over Hays-Thomas More Prep in the Zone 1 championship Tuesday. Larned (15-11) qualifies for the A state tournament at Topeka.
Larned had three batters hit by pitches and three batters walk in a five-run third inning. Colin LaBouchardiere scored on a hit batter. Jack Stelter and Logan Erway scored on wild pitches. Pontius singled home Mello Bryant and Dillan Smith for a 5-0 lead.
Mello Bryant scored on a groundout and Dillan Smith scored on Gavin Alvarez's fifth-inning sacrifice fly. Bryant singled home LaBouchardiere in the sixth inning. Bryant scored on an error.
GREAT BEND BRAVES 15, SALINA EAGLES 5 (G5) – Great Bend’s Paco Hernandez delivered four hits, including the game-winning single. Second baseman Chayse Gruber turned a pair of sparkling double plays. Pitcher Joseph Moeder finished with a hard-fought complete game performance.
The Great Bend Braves beat the Salina Eagles 15-5 Tuesday to earn a rematch in the A Zone tournament Wednesday against the Hays Eagles. The Eagles have been boosted by the addition of three starters from the AAA Hays Legion baseball team.
Hernandez ended the game with his fourth consecutive single to score Brad Beck and Joseph Moeder with the game-ending hit. Hernandez drove home three runs. Eight of nine starters contributed with a hit, run scored or RBI in a 13-hit attack.
Second baseman Gruber started inning-ending double plays in the third inning on Jordan Anderson and in the fifth inning on Jacob Scoville’s groundball.
Gruber singled home Joseph Moeder and Hernandez to spark a four-run first inning. Brad Beck doubled home Sage Koelsch.
Joseph Moeder and Gruber drilled RBI doubles and Hernandez singled home Joseph Moeder in a four-run second inning. Jade Poe and Beck scored on third-inning errors. Hernandez scored on Gavin Haberman’s groundout for a 11-5 lead after four innings.
Koelsch singled home Mathew Moeder to set up Hernandez’ game-ending hit. The Braves ran wild with steals against Salina Eagle pitchers and catcher Clayton Meier.
“Offensively, we put the pressure on them,” said Randy Beck, Great Bend coach. “We capitalized on their mistakes. Our backs were against the wall. Hopefully, we’ll continue to hit the ball like we did tonight.”
Pitcher Joseph Moeder (3-0) hung tough after yielding five runs with a scoreless fifth inning.
“It’s a key to earn a complete game because of pitch count. We’ve got several starters pitchers who are in line to step up. So far, we’ve done well.”
HAYS EAGLES 10, RUSSELL 0 (G4) – Three reinforcements from the Hays AAA baseball team delivered. Brady Kreutzer drilled a two-run double and two-run single. Dominic Bainter hit a RBI triple. Justice Dotts singled and doubled to spark the Eagles, who used three starters from the AAA Eagles to roll past Russell. The trio are eligible to compete in either the A or AAA state tournament.
Hays-TMP 000 003 0 – 3 7 3
Larned Indians 005 022 x – 9 4 0
Wentling, Newell (3), Helget (5) and Dinkel, Wentling. Murray, Dillan Smith (6) and Stelter. W–Murray, 1-0. L–Wentling, 3-2. 2B–L–Stelter; H–Rack, Pfeifer.
Hays Eagles 205 3 – 10 10 0
Russell 000 0 – 0 2 2
Wellbrock and Cox. Rome, Rohr (3) and Roth. W–Wellbrock, 4-2. L–Rohr. 2B–H–Kreutzer, Cox, Dotts. .HR–H–Bainter.
Salina Eagles 020 30 – 5 6 5
GB Braves 442 14 – 15 13 1
Anderson, Scoville (3), Nurnberg (4) and. Meier. Joseph Moeder and Beck. W–J. Moeder 3-0. L–Anderson, 2-3. 2B–GB–Beck 2, Koelsch, J. Moeder, Gruber.
A ZONE (17 under)
GREAT BEND (July 15)–Hays Eagles 7, Great Bend Braves 6; G2–Salina Eagles 4, Russell 1; G3–Hays-Thomas More Prep 7, Hays Eagles 5; G4–Larned 11, Salina Eagles 1
7-16–G5–Hays Eagles 10, Russell 0; G6–Great Bend Braves 15, Salina Eagles 5; G7–Larned 8, Hays-TMP 3 (Zone 1 champion)
7-17–G8–Hays Eagles 14-16-1 vs. Great Bend Braves, 12-15, 6 p.m.; G9–Winner G8 vs. Hays Monarchs (Zone 2 champion)