Snapping a four-game losing skid, the Great Bend Chiefs will be entering the Class AAA American Legion Zone Tournament on a high note.
In the home and regular-season finale on a sweltering Thursday night at the Sports Complex — one nine-inning game — the Chiefs rallied from a 5-3 deficit with a four-run uprising in the bottom of the sixth and held on for a 7-5 victory over the Thomas More Prep Monarchs.
“Any time that you can win your last game going there gives us a nice confidence boost,” Great Bend head coach Michael Stettinger said. “Especially the way we came out and executed. We played good defense, we had good approaches at the plate and beat a quality team.
“We knew we were playing one nine-inning game tonight, so we were going to break it up and try to get a couple different arms in there. Bryce (Beck) did a great job to start the game, really shutting them down and getting routine ground balls and a few strikeouts.
“He did a good job, like he’s done all year long.”
Chiefs middle reliever Braden Jones inherited a 3-3 ballgame after Beck worked five full innings, his pitch count soaring near 90.
Although Jones allowed four hits in the sixth, including a tiebreaking two-run single by Travis Wasinger for a 5-3 TMP lead, the Chiefs answered back in the bottom of the inning.
Daniel Herrman hit an RBI single, driving in Brady Buehler, who had earlier walked, with the first run, closing the gap to 5-4. Trent Schremmer, who was hit by a pitch, later scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 5
After Jace Bowman singled, Kottas followed with a two-run single, the sixth straight batter to reach base in the inning, scoring Sell and Herrman with the eventual winning runs and a 7-5 cushion.
“Mitch has been big for us at the plate all year and Jace had a pretty nice night offensively,” Stettinger said. “Those two guys really helped break open that inning, obviously started by the bottom of the order getting on.”
Armed with a two-run lead, Nick Ney came out of the bullpen and scattered four hits in pitching shutout ball for the win.
Herrman had three singles in five plate appearances, including a bunt single in the first.
Hoisington product Trent Schremmer came up big in the nine hole, finishing 2-for-3 and scoring a pair of runs. He reached base three times.
Bowman finished 2-for-4, including an RBI flyout and an RBI double. Sell was 1-for-3 and scored a pair of runs after drawing bases on balls.
The Chiefs (10-14) will be playing Dodge City at 4 on Monday afternoon at Hays’ Larks Park in the zone tournament. The winner takes on top-seeded Hays at 6:30, with the second round on Tuesday.
CLASS AAA AMERICAN
At Great Bend
Great Bend Chiefs 7,
Thomas More Prep 5
123 456 789 R H E
TMP 101 012 000 — 5 11 4
GB 120 004 000 — 7 11 1
Pierce Schippers, Travis Wasinger (6) & Bryan Brungardt; Bryce Beck, Braden Jones (6), Nick Ney (7) & Mitch Kottas. W — Ney. L — Schippers.. 2B — Great Bend: Jace Bowman, Connor Sell; TMP: Colby Schippers, Nick Hammeke