HUTCHINSON — Shade Wondra had five hits and drove in six runs during the Great Bend Chiefs’ Class AAA American Legion doubleheader on Friday night against Buhler.
But the Chiefs couldn’t turn them into wins as Buhler swept the two games, 7-5 and 13-9.
“Shade, he was our guy today at the plate,” Chiefs head coach Michael Stettinger said. “He carried us offensively in both games. I think he had a majority of our RBI. He made a small adjustment with his hands and things went perfectly for him.
“He was hitting balls all over the field, and that was the big thing. Shade was willing to use the entire field and hit the ball all over.”
The Chiefs, who are 6-22 on the season, are stuck in a 10-game losing streak in July. They will look to turn that around on Tuesday night as they travel to Dodge City for a doubleheader, starting at 6.
It was all Buhler early on in Game 1.
The Nationals scored one run in the third, another in the fourth and three runs in the fifth.
Great Bend starting pitcher Johnny Allende gave up five runs on six hits. Dillon Reiser relieved Allende, getting the final out in the fifth and two outs in the sixth before Anson Hall came on for the final out.
“Pitching has been our Achilles’ heel for most of the season,” said Stettinger, who brought in six pitchers in the doubleheader. “When we’ve pitched well, we’ve won. When we pitch poorly, we’ve lost.
“We went out there and threw a lot of different guys, and we couldn’t throw strikes.”
The Great Bend defense had a pair of double plays to help Allende get out of jams.
“Our middle infield guys, Shade and Jaxx (Hillman), they did a nice job,” Stettinger said. “They turned two double plays in the first game. That’s the most we’ve turned in any game this year.”
Down 5-0, Great Bend had a rally cut short as it got three runs in the top of the sixth.
Logan Zecha, Wondra and Allende started things off with back-to-back-to-back singles in the top of the sixth with two outs. Allende got an RBI, Wondra scored on an error and Braden Jones hit an RBI single.
Buhler scored two more runs in the bottom of the inning to make it 7-3.
Wondra hit a two-run double in the top of the seventh, scoring Matthew Zecha and Hillman, but the Chiefs couldn’t make up the difference.
“We competed a little bit at the plate (at the end),” Stettinger said. “I’ll give their pitcher a lot of credit. He shut us down for a majority of the game. He was down in the strike zone, and we couldn’t seem to figure him out for a long while.”
The second game immediately started in Great Bend’s favor.
Hillman led off with a double, later scoring on a single from Wondra. Wondra scored on a single from Jones, who scored on a wild pitch, and Tyler Nuss hit a single to drive in Allende, who got on base with a double.
Nuss started on the mound for the Chiefs, giving up a walk and a single to the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the first. He retired the next three batters he faced to get out of the jam with Great Bend’s 4-0 lead intact.
Nuss wasn’t so fortunate in the bottom of the third. Buhler batted through the order, and Stettinger brought in Jones in relief. But not before the Nationals took a 5-4 lead.
Buhler scored another run in the fourth, but the Chiefs weren’t done yet.
Great Bend got a few breaks from Nationals starting pitcher Wyatt Regehr, who had retired 14 straight batters since giving up four runs in the first.
The Chiefs drew three walks, two hit batters and an error before Wondra, who was 5-for-8 in the doubleheader, hit a three-run double to give Great Bend a 9-6 advantage.
Again, the Chiefs couldn’t hold on to their lead as Buhler batted around its order to score seven runs, including a three-run home run by Alex Hershberger.
“We got complacent,” Stettinger said of losing the lead in Game 2. “One of the things we tell these kids is you have to find a way to score a run in every inning. You can’t wait on the big innings and depend on that.
“That’s exactly what we did. We got a lead and thought we could sit on it. We weren’t able to keep it.”
CLASS AAA AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL
Buhler 7, Great Bend 5
123 456 7 R H E
Chiefs 000 003 2 — 5 9 2
Nationals 001 132 x — 7 6 0
Johnny Allende, Dillon Reiser (4) & Jared Maneth; Treyton Devore & Ryan Snow. W — Devore. L — Allende. 2B — Great Bend (Shade Wondra); Buhler (Wyatt Regehr 2).
Buhler 13, Great Bend 9
123 456 7 R H E
Chiefs 400 005 0 — 9 6 2
Nationals 005 107 x — 13 11 1
Tyler Nuss, Braden Jones (3), Tristan Hall (5) & Anson Hall; Wyatt Regehr & Ryan Snow. W — Regehr. L — Nuss. 2B — Great Bend (Jaxx Hillman, Johnny Allende, Shade Wondra); Buhler (Treyton Devore, Alex Hershberger). HR — Buhler (Hershberger).