The Great Bend Braves travel to Fort Hays State University’s Larks Park today to face the Hays Junior Eagles in the first round of a Class A American Legion Zone Tournament at 1 p.m.
The Braves (13-15) are the No. 4 seed in the tournament, and Hays is the No. 1 seed.
Great Bend has played the Junior Eagles once this season — the opening game of the Wild West Fest wood bat tournament in Hays, a 9-0 setback.
“It’s like I told the kids when we first played them,” Braves head coach Jordan Metro said. “It’s going to be the best team that we play all year long. They proved that the first game.
“They have two of the best pitchers that we’ll see all year. They’re a beatable team. They have their up and downs, but we have to play good to beat them. They are the team to beat.”
The Braves will be putting Lance Ward on the mound against Hays.
“He is one of three solid pitchers that we have,” Metro said. “Lance will start the first game. He’s still battling the injury, but it doesn’t bother him when he pitches. It mainly bothers him when he runs.
“Tristan (Hall) will pitch the second game. Tyler (Nuss) will be ready in either game.”
No. 2 seed Larned (15-7) challenges third-seeded Dodge City at 3 p.m.
The losers of the first two games play at 5 p.m. in the double-elimination tournament.
The winners of the first two games play at 7.
Great Bend is 1-3 during the regular season against Larned and 0-4 against Dodge City.
“We’ve proven we can beat Larned,” Metro said. “Larned swept Dodge all year. Those first two games we played at Dodge City, we gave them those. I have no doubt in my mind that we can beat Larned or Dodge.”
CLASS A AMERICAN
1 p.m. — Hays vs. Great Bend
3 p.m. — Larned vs. Dodge City
5 p.m. — Hays-Great Bend loser vs. Larned-Dodge City loser
7 p.m. — Hays-Great Bend winner vs. Larned-Dodge City winner