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Chiefs struggle in pool play at Salina tournament
Kansas Grand Slam Wood Bat Tournament
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SALINA — In the Great Bend Chiefs’ second game on Saturday at the Kansas Grand Slam Wood Bat Tournament, they put themselves in the driver’s seat down the stretch against the Topeka Golden Giants.
That’s when the Golden Giants unleashed a trio of home runs, including a three-run blast and a two-run shot from third baseman Justin McNorton, that propelled them to a 9-4 victory.
The Chiefs finished pool play with an 0-4 mark after falling 10-2 in six innings against the Lawrence Raiders to start the day.
“The main thing is our defense,” Great Bend head coach Michael Stettinger said. “We’ve been hitting the ball well, pitching well, but we haven’t been making the plays behind our pitchers that we need to make.”
Great Bend had nine hits against Topeka, and put two runs on the board in both the first and the second innings, giving it a 4-2 advantage heading into the third.
“Jaxx Hillman got us started right off the bat with a walk,” Stettinger said of the bottom of the first. “Bryce Beck got a hit. Johnny (Allende) got a hit. Tristan (Hall) got a hit. We had several hits right there in a row. We came out swinging.
“Matthew Zecha came up with two on and just crushed it, but the outfielder was playing right next to the wall, so he was able to get it. We could’ve scored more runs.”
Then Great Bend went cold, and the Golden Giants started to light things up.
After Topeka scored a run in the third to make it 4-3, a three-run shot in the fifth gave it a 6-4 advantage and the momentum.
“That was a momentum changer,” Stettinger said. “When that went over, I could just feel the momentum switch, and it wasn’t either of the pitchers’ fault. They weren’t bad pitches. They were down in the zone. They were just hit hard.”
Beck, who gave up both home runs to McNorton, started on the mound for Great Bend. He went six innings and had six strikeouts before Braden Jones came on in relief, giving up a solo home run to Quinton Smith.
Hillman was 2-for-2 with a pair of walks. Allende went 2-for-3 with two RBI, and Braden Jones hit a two-run single.

Lawrence Raiders 10,
Great Bend Chiefs 2 (6)
SALINA — Defensive struggles plagued Great Bend in its first game on Saturday.
The Chiefs finished with six errors.
“It wasn’t just the errors, but it was errors with people on base,” Stettinger said. “They were able to score a lot of unearned runs off our mistakes.”
Allende started for the Chiefs, going 3 1/3 innings, before Tyler Nuss came on in relief and finished the game.
“Both of our pitchers did well,” Stettinger said. “They threw fine, but again, our defense was the real problem.”
Tristan Hall went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles to lead the Chiefs. Beck and Allende each had an RBI.
The Chiefs host Dodge City on Tuesday night at the Great Bend Sports Complex for a Class AAA American Legion doubleheader, starting at 6.
Other Grand Slam scores can be viewed at:

               — Kevin Price



At Salina
Dean Evans Stadium

Lawrence Raiders 10,
Great Bend Chiefs 2 (6)
                      123   456          R    H    E
Lawrence      022   303  —    10    8    2
Great Bend    002   000  —     2    5    6
   Ryan Stagg & Drew Green; Johnny Allende, Tyler Nuss (4) & Jared Maneth. W — Stagg. L — Allende. 2B — Lawrence (C.J. Stuever); Great Bend (Dillon Reiser).

James Matson Field

Topeka Golden Giants 9,
Great Bend Chiefs 4
                      123   456   7         R     H     E
Topeka          201   032   1  —    9    15    2
Great Bend    220   000   0  —    4     9     0
     Will Ervin, Bret Ricklefs (2), Henry DeNoble (7) & Kasey Clark; Bryce Beck, Braden Jones (7) & Anson Hall. W — Ricklefs. L — Beck. 2B — Topeka (Palmer, Clark). 3B — Topeka (McMaster). HR — Topeka (McNorton 2, Smith).