The Class A American Legion baseball season is winding down as the Great Bend Braves play host to Larned in their final two games of the regular season.
The doubleheader starts today at 6 p.m. at the Sports Complex. It will be the second time this season that the two teams have met.
“In the first game, we were leading heading into the seventh, and they came back to win 3-2,” Braves head coach Jordan Metro said. “The second game (a 9-5 loss), we had one bad inning where they got ahead of us.
“I think we’re as good as they are. If our pitching shows up, we’ll be pretty good defensively.”
The Braves sit at 12-14 on the season with a chance to finish the regular season at .500.
All they need to do is sweep Larned.
To do that, Great Bend will need to get all the production it can out of its hitters, a part of its game that Metro said has been hot and cold this season.
Lance Ward leads the team with a .526 batting average. He has one home run this season.
However, Ward has a pulled muscle in his quadriceps.
“It definitely has been holding him back,” Metro said of Ward’s injury. “When he’s pitching or running, it doesn’t bother him, but it bothers him when he’s hitting. I don’t like to play him on defense if I don’t have to.”
Tristan Hall has had a productive season at the plate. He has a batting average of .469, while leading the team in home runs (3) and doubles (7).
“He’s been huge for us,” Metro said. “He’s been swinging the stick well for us, especially lately. He’s not looking to walk when he steps up to the plate. He’s looking to hit.
“He can be reckless at times, but he’s a good hitter for us. He has a lot of power.”
Dillon Reiser is hitting .372 and has three doubles and leads the Braves with two triples.
“Dillon is probably our most consistent hitter,” Metro said. “He’s had some bad luck hitting, especially lately. If there’s a glove, he’ll find it. He still finds ways to get on base.”
Shade Wondra (.333) and Tyler Nuss (.304) are both hitting above .300 for the Braves.
Great Bend lead-off hitter Logan Zecha is batting .250, and he’s leading the Braves in stolen bases with 28.
“I was kind of surprised Logan’s average was so low,” Metro said. “He gets on base a lot for us. His on-base percentage has to be a lot higher.”
Hall, Ward and Nuss are the Braves top three pitchers, according to Metro.
“Those three are the most consistent on the mound for us,” Metro said. “We know what we’re going to get with any of those three starting. Tristan has been lights out. Lance has a great curveball and he a little bit of heat to mix in.
“They are all very consistent.”