DODGE CITY — With the Class AAA American Legion zone baseball tournament first-round game tied at four after five innings, the Great Bend Chiefs never felt out of it on Tuesday evening at Demon Field.
The early end came by surprise as the No. 2-seeded Garden City Blues enacted the 10-run rule in eight innings for a 14-4 win.
“I don’t think the score really reflected how the game went,” Chiefs head coach Michael Stettinger said. “I don’t feel like we got beat by 10 runs. Bryce Beck pitched a good game and really executed some pitches. They just got some good hits to fall when they had runners in scoring position.”
Garden City was able to take advantage of three Great Bend errors early on.
“I think that the errors we made were at crucial times when they had runners in scoring position,” Stettinger said. “That’s going to put you backwards defensively.”
The Blues held a 4-0 lead after four innings, but the No. 3-seeded Chiefs found their way onto the scoreboard in the top of the fifth.
“We made the most of our opportunities in that inning,” Stettinger said. “Guys executed when they were asked to bunt. Got them down and moved some runners around. Got some key hits when we had runners on.
“I thought we hit OK the rest of the game. Again, just like the rest of the season, it was just right at somebody.”
Shade Wondra led off the inning with a single, followed by back-to-back bunt singles to load the bases for Johnny Allende.
“That’s what we’ve had to do all year, and the kids know it,” Stettinger said of playing small ball. “They seemed to execute it a little bit better today than we have some other games.”
Wondra scored on a passed ball, and Allende hit an RBI single to leave runners on first and second with no outs. Tristan Hall advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt before Dillon Reiser hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Beck from third.
Braden Jones drove in the final Great Bend run of the game with a single.
After that, the Blues took over.
The Chiefs (7-28) managed to get their leadoff hitter on base in two of the final three innings, but Garden City got the next three batters to end each inning without any damage done.
On offense, Garden City started to get to Chiefs starter Beck, who went seven innings and gave up nine runs on 15 hits. He made the defense work behind him, getting no strikeouts and walking two batters.
Jaxx Hillman came on in relief in the eighth inning as the Chiefs were down 9-4. He gave up a two-run single and a one-run single before two runners crossed the plate on passed balls to end the game.
Great Bend plays in an elimination game tonight at 5 in Dodge City.
CLASS AAA AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL
At Dodge City
Garden City 14, Great Bend 4 (8)
123 456 78 R H E
Great Bend 000 040 00 — 4 10 3
Garden City 101 203 25 — 14 18 1
Bryce Beck, Jaxx Hillman (8) & Anson Hall; Mario Montoya & Addison DeHerrera. W — Montoya. L — Beck. 2B — Garden City (Logan Dechant, Marcus Zapata, Devan Acker).