PRATT — It was a long, hot Sunday as the Great Bend Braves geared up for the championship game of the Pratt Wood Bat Tournament at Green Sports Complex.
It was their third game of the day after beating Lyons 12-4 in five innings and Pratt 2-0 to advance to the title game against Buhler.
Great Bend took an early lead, but Buhler won 10-2 in five innings.
“We had some good performances throughout the weekend,” Great Bend head coach Michael Stettinger said. “I felt like we got better. I felt like we had some confidence boosters throughout the weekend. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the end result that we wanted, but you got to look at the big picture.
“We had guys who had a lot of playing time, and we had a lot of good performances over the weekend.”
The Braves jumped out ahead with a pair of runs in the top of the first against Buhler.
Logan Zecha led off with a single and stole second before Jaxx Hillman moved him to third with a single. Anson Hall drove in Logan Zecha with a groundout to second, and Hillman scored on an Aaron Rodriguez single.
It was the last time the Braves scored a run.
“To be honest, not to make any excuses, but I think part of the problem was we’re on our third game today,” Stettinger said. “I could tell that the kids were a little bit tired. They tried to battle through, but their pitcher found a way to get us out.”
Tyler Nuss took the mound for Great Bend. He went 3 innings before Brett Basye came on in relief.
“Tyler came out and he was in the zone with all of his pitches,” Stettinger said. “He had a good start to the game. We had some bad breaks, some lucky hops that they got. They got a few balls, and they hit well with runners in scoring position.”
Buhler took the lead in the bottom of the third with four runs, and it scored five more in the fourth, leaving it 9-2.
Buhler enacted the run-rule with a triple from Tristan Hawkins and an RBI double by Jace Williams for a 10-2 final.
Great Bend managed six hits in the championship game, led by Logan Zecha, who went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.
Great Bend 12, Lyons 4 (5)
The Braves opened bracket play with an eight-run inning in the bottom of the first.
Great Bend drew five walks and one struck batter to accompany three hits. Hillman hit a three-run double, Gabriel Juarez hit a two-run double and Alex Deist hit an RBI single.
“Our offense has carried us so far this weekend, and it did again in this game,” Stettinger said. “The guys did a really good job at the plate. They were selective of which pitches they wanted to swing at.”
Lyons responded with one run in the second and three runs in the third before the Braves got four more runs across in the bottom of the fourth.
Jared Maneth scored on an error, Matthew Zecha hit a two-run single and a hit batter brought in Anson Hall.
Lyons pitchers combined for 10 walks and two hit batters in the game.
Great Bend 2, Pratt 0
Great Bend starting pitcher Tristan Hall found himself in the middle of a pitchers’ duel in a semifinal game against Pratt’s Drake Evert.
The right-hander allowed five baserunners in a no-hitter for the Braves. He had 10 strikeouts.
“Pratt’s guy they sent up there was really good,” Stettinger said. “It was between him and Tristan Hall the whole game, back and forth.
“Tristan really located his fastball today. For him to come out and get a no-hitter with 10 strikeouts, you can’t ask for anything more than that from your pitcher.”
Logan Zecha reached base on an error and later scored on a Hillman single in the top of the fourth.
The Braves secured an insurance run in the top of the seventh on a Matthew Zecha RBI single.