With a near shutout and a solo home run, Tristan Hall showed prowess on the mound and at the plate for the Great Bend Braves during the first game of a Class A American Legion doubleheader on Friday.
The Braves swept Nickerson, winning the first game 8-1 and the second 17-1 in three innings at the Sports Complex.
Hall started for the Braves, going six innings, giving up one hit and two walks while striking out seven in Game 1.
“After the first inning, I was pretty sure we had that one in the bag,” Hall said. “But I didn’t want the team to get too confident and start slacking, and thinking they had it in the bag. I wanted to keep them pumped up and keep hitting.”
Hall gave up one run in the top of the third when Nickerson’s Brian Young hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Chase Timmons. The Braves’ right-hander responded by leading off the bottom of the third with a one-run tear over the left-field wall.
Hall found himself in trouble in the top of the first when Nickerson had runners on second and third with one out, but he responded by striking out the next two batters to get out of the inning.
“Tristan threw an awesome game,” Braves head coach Jordan Metro said. “He’s been lights out pitching lately. This game, he hit a bomb. Then he crushed another one for a single or a double. He’s a great player.”
The Braves took advantage of some early errors from Nickerson, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first and two in the second.
After Hall’s blast in the third, Mitch Johnson got on base with a single, and stole second before Lance Ward drove him in with a single to left field.
“They got the one on us, and coach said we needed to get one back,” Hall said. “I got up and I wasn’t going for a home run, but I got one. This was my second home run. My first since the first game of the season against Hays.
“I couldn’t believe it made it over.”
Logan Zecha had an RBI single to put the Braves up 8-1. He led Great Bend, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
“Our bats came alive at times,” Metro said. “At other times they didn’t, so that’s still a work in progress, but they looked a lot better than they have in the last four games.”
Hall followed the third with three 1-2-3 innings before Tyler Nuss took over in relief in the top of the seventh. Nuss went 1-2-3 to close the game.
Great Bend 17, Nickerson 1
The Braves batted through the order in the first and second innings of Game 2 against Nickerson pitcher Connor Gomes.
In two innings at the plate, the Braves put together seven hits and nine walks to score seven runs in the bottom of the first and 10 in the second.
“It was nice to be on the other end of a game like that,”Metro said of having big innings early in a game. “We tend to see ourselves on the losing end of those games, so it was nice. Again, it comes down to pitching, throwing strikes early. That’s what we did both games.”
Jack Westhoff took the mound for the Braves, throwing an abbreviated complete game. He allowed three hits, one walk and one run in three innings.
“That’s big for Jack,” Metro said. “He threw consistently in the zone. It was great for Jack, and it was great to see him come back and throw that well.”
Westhoff finished with two strikeouts.
Great Bend travels to Newton for a triangular today. The game against Newton starts at 1 p.m. and a game against McPherson is scheduled to start at 3.