After opening the season with a nine-game losing streak, the Great Bend Chiefs won their first Class AAA American Legion baseball game of the season during pool play of the Chiefs Classic on Saturday.
It didn’t start well, but the Chiefs topped Larned 14-11 in 5 1/2 innings at the Great Bend Sports Complex to end their losing streak and improve to 1-9.
“Feels great to finally get off the slide,” Great Bend head coach Michael Stettinger said. “Feels great to finally get the boys a taste of winning and let them get out here and experience success.
“Just a fact that we could come out and actually play a good game all-around. It’s a big confidence booster.”
Larned scored four runs in the top of the first off Great Bend starting pitcher Braden Jones, highlighted by a three-run double from Seth Gevara.
Jones went 5 1/3 innings before Stettinger brought in Bryce Beck to finish the game.
The Chiefs answered in a big way, scoring seven runs in the bottom of the inning. Jaxx Hillman started things with a single and later scored on a passed ball with the bases loaded.
Dillon Reiser followed with a two-run single, Anson Hall drove in two runs with a double and Hillman, up for the second time in the inning, drove in a pair of runs with a base hit.
“That’s what we’ve been doing every game,” Stettinger said. “I know we’ve had some games that have had some high scores. It seems like every time we’ve been down in the first inning, and the kids haven’t hung their heads. They came out and put up some runs, seven, and answered back. That’s what we want from them.”
Larned scored another four runs in the second inning, taking an 8-7 lead until the bottom of the third.
Johnny Allende hit a solo blast over the wall in left-center field to tie the game.
After another scoreless inning by Larned, the Chiefs added four runs for a 12-8 lead in the bottom of the fourth.
Beck scored on a wild pitch, Allende drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Anson Hall hit an RBI double.
“The big thing with Braden is he came out and gave up eight runs and then he shut them out for the next two consecutive innings,” Stettinger said. “That’s what you get every time you put Braden out there. He competes every single inning no matter what the circumstances are.
“The defense made some good plays behind them and Braden just did a good job getting back in the strike zone.”
The Chiefs scored their final runs on a bunt with one out by Jones, scoring Shade Wondra and Beck, as the Indians (4-1) opted to get the out at first.
CLASS AAA AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL
At Great Bend Sports Complex
Great Bend 14, Larned 11 (6)
123 456 R H E
Larned 440 003 — 11 7 2
Great Bend 701 42x — 14 11 0
Trey Kraisinger & Landon Erway; Braden Jones, Bryce Beck (6) & Anson Hall. W — Jones. L — Kraisinger. 2B — Larned (Seth Gevara, Brayden Smith, Evan Skelton); Great Bend (Hall 2, Matthew Zecha). 3B — Larned (Nick Warrick). HR — Great Bend (Johnny Allende).