Large innings led to both wins in a Class A American Legion doubleheader between the Great Bend Braves and the Larned Indians at the Sports Complex on Friday.
The Indians (15-7) won the first game with a six-run inning leading to a 10-0 victory. Great Bend (13-15) won the second game 9-4 after an eight-run explosion in the bottom of the third.
“After that first game, (Assistant) Coach Ney told them that they had to figure it out,” Braves Head Coach Jordan Metro said. “They had a little meeting for the players, and whatever they said it worked.
“They started swinging the sticks better in the second game.”
In the second game, the Braves took a 1-0 in the first inning on Dillon Reiser’s RBI single, driving in lead-off batter Logan Zecha.
Easton Palmer led off the top of the second with a double for Larned.
Brayden Smith drove him in with a single, and Camryn Bryant scored on an error when a pick-off attempt overshot Braves third baseman Tyler Nuss.
The Braves scored eight runs in the bottom of the third, which started with Shade Wondra reaching first base on an error.
“That second game, they were just hitting the ball,” Larned Head Coach Chad Erway said. “Brayden had a couple off-speed pitches. His curveball was hanging in the zone. He was hanging them, and they were banging them.”
Matt Zecha, Nuss, Anson Hall and Reiser each had RBI singles.
Lance Ward, Wondra and Tristan Hall each had RBI doubles, and one run scored on a wild pitch.
“We had a huge inning,” Metro said. “That was almost all hits, too. That’s what we’ve been telling the kids. They have it in them, and they brought it out in that inning.”
Larned scored one run in the fourth and another in the fifth, but couldn’t claw itself back from the deficit.
Tristan Hall pitched a complete game for the Braves. He finished with six strikeouts, two walks and one hit batter.
Larned 10, Great Bend 0
Logan Zecha led off the bottom of the first with a hard hit into the outfield, but he was caught trying to stretch it into a double.
“There really wasn’t much positive in the first game,” Metro said. “We came out hitting in the first inning, and we just went ice cold after that.”
Reiser followed that with a single, but Larned starting pitcher Landon Erway clamped down and held the Braves to one more hit in the five-inning game.
“Landon’s kind of a thumber, you know,” Chad Erway said. “He throws a lot of off-speed stuff. He doesn’t throw real hard, but he locates and changes speeds a lot. He did a good job locating.”
The Indians scored three runs in the top of the second before Braves starter Mitch Johnson pitched his way out of a bases-loaded jam.
Larned scored six runs on six hits and two Great Bend errors to take a 9-0 lead in the fourth, and the Indians plated one more run on an error in the top of the fifth.
Palmer, who came in as relief for Larned to get the last out in the fourth inning, got two strike outs and Indians catcher Tyler Stelter caught Ward stealing second in the final inning to enact the run rule.
The Braves face Hays in the first round of the Zone tournament on Wednesday at Fort Hays State University’s Larks Park in Hays.
CLASS A AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL
At Great Bend
Larned 10, Great Bend 0
123 45 R H E
Larned 030 61 — 10 10 1
Great Bend 000 00 — 0 3 3
Landon Erway, Easton Palmer (4) & Tyler Stelter; Mitch Johnson, Lance Ward (4) & Jared Maneth. W — Erway; L — Johnson.
Great Bend 9, Larned 4
123 456 7 R H E
Larned 020 110 0 — 4 10 3
Great Bend 108 000 x — 9 13 1
Brayden Smith, Camryn Bryant (3), Easton Palmer (5) & Tyler Stelter; Tristan Hall & Mitch Johnson. W — Hall; L — Smith. 2B — Larned: Easton Palmer (2), Seth Gevara (2); Great Bend: Lance Ward, Shade Wondra, Hall.