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Braves beat Dodge City to win classic
spt kp Braves Conaway HR
Great Bends Dakota Conaway hits a home run over the left-center field wall against Dodge City in the championship game of the Braves Baseball Classic on Sunday. - photo by Kevin Price Great Bend Tribune

After beating Hutchinson 10-6 in the semifinal game on Sunday afternoon, the Great Bend Braves had a rematch against the one team that defeated them during pool play on Saturday — Dodge City.
After taking an early lead, the Braves nearly let the Rangers back into the game, but five runs in the seventh inning gave Great Bend a 13-8 victory at Al Burn Memorial Field.
“I think that (Saturday) kind of like (Sunday), we let them get back in it with our defense,” Braves head coach Randy Beck said. “We had some costly errors, especially in the sixth that let them come back. It was kind of that way (Saturday). When we play fundamental baseball, we can compete against just about anybody.”
Dodge City struck first, scoring two runs in the bottom of the second inning against Braves pitcher Lance Ward.
Ward went 5 1/3 innings, struck out four and walked two. Bryce Beck, who had missed Saturday’s games because he was at a basketball camp, came in to pitch the final 1 2/3 innings.
Beck claimed the win, giving up one run and two walks while striking out two.
“He got back from basketball camp just in time,” Randy Beck said of his son. “So it was great timing on his part because we were down to ... we were scrounging just like everyone else in the tournament. He showed up at the right time, came in and got the job done.”
The Braves tied the game at two runs in the top of the third inning. Colton Zink recorded the first RBI on a groundout to the Rangers’ short stop.
Dakota Conaway drove in the second run with a single.
“Dakota is just our main hitter,” Randy Beck said. “He’s our three-hole hitter, and he just gets up there and makes good decisions with the bat. Very rarely does he have a bad at bat. If he can do that day-in and day-out, he can compile some pretty good stats.”
Derek Simmons drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the fourth with a double.
The Braves continued to put some distance between themselves and Dodge City, scoring three runs in the fifth inning and two in the sixth.
Conaway added two runs in the fifth on a blast over the wall in left-center field, scoring Zink, who hit the first of his two triples in the at bat before Conaway.
“The second home run felt better just because the game came down to the wire,” Conaway, who hit a home run against Hutchinson earlier the same day, said. “It was a great game. The home run put us up, and then it ended up 8-8. I told everybody to just bet ready to hit the ball hard somewhere and they will make mistakes. Put the pressure on them.”
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Dodge City, which was down 8-2, began to claw its way back. Five hits and two Braves throwing errors later, the Rangers tied the game 8-8.
In the top of the seventh, the Braves responded with five hits of their own.
Mark Lang got the scoring started with a sacrifice fly into deep right field, scoring Braden Jones.
Zink hit his second triple with the bases loaded for three RBIs. Conaway drove in Zink for the second time in the game with a double.
“It was good,” Randy Beck said. “Our kids could have laid down but didn’t. We were down once and they tied it once. We came out and we really had seen (Dodge City’s pitcher) a couple of times. We were just concentrating on hitting his fastballs, getting our pitch and not chasing anything out of the zone.
“If we get a free pass, then we get on. We needed base runners, and then we needed a few key hits. We got it done.”

Great Bend 10,
Hutchinson 6 (5)

Great Bend scored runs in all five innings against Hutchinson in the semifinal game Sunday.
By the end of the game seven of the nine Braves players had at least one RBI.
The game ended in the fifth inning because of time restraints, but before the end of the fifth, Conaway hit his first home run of the season, sending the ball sailing over the wall in left-center field.
“It felt good,” Conaway said. “We were barely winning and I ended up hitting that home run. It put us up quite a bit. It felt good just to help the team out, swinging the bat good. I’ve been swinging the bat well all day.”
Great Bend traded blows with Hutchinson leaving the Braves ahead 7-6 going into the bottom of the fourth where they were able to get a 9-6 lead.
Zink drove in a run with a single and Brady Buehler scored a run when he grounded out.
Allende pitched a shortened complete game for the Braves, recording the win.

At Al Burns Memorial Field

Great Bend Braves 10,
Hutchinson 6 (5) 
                                   123   45        R   H  E
Hutchinson              113   10  —  6   9   2
Great Bend              214   21  — 10  9   1

Aomes & Pierce; Jonathon Allende & Colton Zink;  W — Allende. L — Aomes. 2B — Simmons, Ward, Lang. HR — Conaway.

Great Bend Braves 13, Dodge City 8
                        123   456   7           R   H   E
Great Bend    002   132   5   —  13  16  3
Dodge City    020    006  0   —   8   10  2 

Lance Ward & Dakota Conaway; Austin Weiser & Kale Reikenberg; W — Beck. L — Weiser. 2B — Lang, Herrman, Simmons, Conaway; Tieben, Doan, Espinoza. 3B —Zink 2. HR — Conaway.