Sometimes all it takes is getting a little momentum.
The Great Bend Chiefs found that momentum in the form of a series of bunts that led to a six-run second inning that propelled them to an 11-5 win over Buhler in 5½ innings in a semifinal game of the Chiefs Classic on Sunday afternoon at the Great Bend Sports Complex.
“We started off the game with a good performance by Johnny Allende on the mound,” Great Bend head coach Michael Stettinger said. “We played very good defense today. We were consistent as far as fielding ground balls.
“When we had runners in scoring position, the kids really executed. The bunting game was what really got it going for us.”
Buhler scored one run in the first inning, but the Chiefs answered.
With runners on first and second, Allende hit a hard grounder down the third-base line. Buhler third baseman Will Perry fielded the ball and forced out Jaxx Hillman before throwing to first base.
Allende, who started on the mound for the Chiefs, got tangled with Buhler’s first baseman, who missed the throw. Allende went to third on the play, and Bryce Beck scored. Dillon Reiser later reached on an error, as Allende scored from third to take a 2-1 lead.
After Buhler misplayed a bunt single by Matthew Zecha in the second, Shade Wondra hit an RBI single, followed by a run scored on a Jaxx Hillman bunt for a base hit. Beck also reached base on a bunt.
Reiser hit an RBI single, and Hillman scored when Beck got caught in a rundown. Tristan Hall capped the inning with a two-run double, making it 8-1.
“Not that they’re a bad defensive team, we just had good placement of our bunts,” Stettinger said. “The guys were seeing them down, and we were moving on it.
“Sometimes that’s what it needs, what it takes is something little like that to get some momentum going.”
Buhler scored two runs in the third and one in the fourth, making it 8-4 before the Chiefs opened up the lead again.
Reiser and Anson Hall each hit an RBI single, and Braden Jones scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the fourth.
Perry drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to left field for Buhler, and Stettinger was ejected while arguing a call at third base in the fifth.
With one out and a runner on third, Wondra, who came in for Allende in the fourth, got out of the situation when Buhler’s Pierce Billington flied out to right field and Wyatt Regehr was tagged out at the plate by Anson Hall after Matthew Zecha threw a dart from right field.
CLASS AAA AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL
At Great Bend Sports Complex
Great Bend 11, Buhler 5 (5 ½)
123 456 R H E
Buhler 102 110 — 5 7 2
Great Bend 260 30x — 11 14 1
Bryce Strecker & Ryan Snow; Johnny Allende, Shade Wondra (4) & Anson Hall. W — Allende. L — Strecker. 2B — Buhler (Alec Hershberger, Wyatt Regehr); Great Bend (Tristan Hall).