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Braves strike early but fall in final pool-play game
Wild West Fest wood bat tourney
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HAYS — Things were looking up for the Great Bend Braves in Saturday morning’s Wild West Fest wood bat tournament junior division pool play game against Fort Morgan, Colo.
However, some issues on the base paths crumbled Great Bend’s early momentum, and Fort Morgan won 8-1 to end pool play.
Great Bend fell 7-2 against Andover in the first game of the double-elimination portion of the tournament on Saturday night.
The Braves (10-13) got a leadoff triple from Logan Zecha in the top of the first inning.
Dillon Reiser followed that with an RBI single, but he was caught running to second base on a hit-and-run play with Shade Wondra at the plate.
“We had the hit-and-run on,” Braves head coach Jordan Metro said. “Shade hit a grounder, which is what he was supposed to do, but Dillon thought that the defender caught it. He got caught between first and second.
“That was a huge turning point, that’s for sure. It took the momentum out of us, but that wasn’t the only one. We had several kids get caught running the bases.”
Lance Ward started on the mound for the Braves, throwing four innings and striking out four batters.
Tristan Hall came in as relief for the final two innings and finished with two strikeouts. Neither pitcher walked a batter.
“Both pitchers threw a good game,” Metro said. “They were throwing strikes. Mostly they either got a hit or reached base on an error.”
The Braves held the 1-0 lead until the bottom of the fourth when Fort Morgan scored five runs against Ward.
Fort Morgan scored three more runs in the bottom of the sixth, taking advantage of four Braves errors.
Both team finished with seven hits.
Reiser finished 2-for-3 with a double and a single to lead the Braves.
“We got the hits we needed, but the base running took us out of a few innings,” Metro said.
After pool play, the Braves were 0-3 in the tournament and the fourth seed out of pool C.

Andover 7, Great Bend 2
The Braves led 2-0 after the second inning, but Andover knotted the game at two in the fifth and scored five runs in the sixth to rally for the win.
Great Bend’s Shade Wondra drove in Logan Zecha in the first, and Mitch Johnson scored on a wild pitch in the second after getting on base with a walk.
The Braves play Fort Morgan today at 9 a.m. at Thomas More Prep Marian’s field.

                                                                          — Kevin Price