No matter the sport, Great Bend and Hays always seem to treat fans to a game that goes down to the wire.
Such was the case again on Tuesday night during the first game of a Class AAA American Legion doubleheader between the Great Bend Chiefs and the Hays Eagles.
The Chiefs, who played from behind the entire game, scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning but came up short in a 9-8 home loss at the Sports Complex.
The nightcap, though, wasn’t even close. Keyed by a seven-run third, Hays posted a 14-0 victory as the 10-run rule went into effect after four innings.
Hayden Hutchinson, the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year this past spring for conference champion and Class 5A state tournament entry Hays High, crashed a two-run homer in the first inning.
The Eagles (23-4) then tacked on five runs in the second and exploded for seven runs on six hits in the third, capped by Zach Legleiter’s grand slam over the fence in dead centerfield.
Left-hander Casey Sedbrook pitched a two-hit shutout, allowing only singles to Mitch Kottas and Daniel Herrman.
Hays 9, Great Bend 8
The score was knotted at 6-6 entering the top of the sixth before the Eagles surged ahead 8-6 on Clayton Basgall’s two-run single.
Hays added an insurance run in the seventh on Hutchinson’s RBI single before Great Bend, which came back from early 4-0 and 6-4 deficits, scored a pair of runs after two outs were registered in the seventh.
Dakota Conaway led off the seventh with a single and Jace Bowman followed by flying out to center. After Mitch Kottas hit into a fielder’s choice at second, forcing Conaway, Braden Jones drew a walk before Nick Ney singled in Kottas to make it 9-7.
Trent Schremmer also added an RBI single, driving in Jones to make it 9-8, as the Chiefs (5-7) had the tying run on second base in Ney and the winning run on first in Schremmer.
But Hays pitcher Austin Unrein, who came on in relief of starter Tyler Wooldridge in the sixth, got Herrman on a swinging strike three to end the game.
Hays went ahead 4-0 in the top of the first. Casey Sedbrook hit a one-out double and Riley Kaus added a two-out RBI double for a 1-0 lead before Kaus scored on an error to make it 2-0. Hutchinson followed with a single and Jarrett Sanders went deep with a two-run home run over the fence in left field for the Eagles’ four-run lead.
The Chiefs answered right back.
Conaway hit a one-out single and Kottas reached on a two-out error. After Braden Jones’ infield single loaded the bases, Ney jumped all over a Wooldridge fastball and cleared the bases with a three-run double to slash the margin to 4-3.
Trent Schremmer then reached on an error, enabling Ney to score the tying run.
Hays scored a pair of runs in the second to make it 6-4 before Great Bend closed to 6-5 in the third after Bowman doubled and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Jones.
Sell hit his first homer of the season, a solo shot with two out in the fourth, tying the game once again before Hays responded.
Conaway and Schremmer each finished 3-for-4 at the plate to lead the Chiefs.
Wooldridge got the win while not allowing a walk or recording a strikeout.
CLASS AAA AMERICAN LEGION
At Great Bend
Hays Eagles 9, Great Bend Chiefs 8
123 456 7 R H E
Hays 420 002 1 — 9 8 3
GB 401 100 2 — 8 8 4
Tyler Wooldridge, Austin Unrein (6) & Jake Sedbrook; Nick Ney & Bryce Beck. W — Wooldridge. L — Ney. S — Unrein. 2B — Hays: Casey Sedbrook, Riley Kaus; Great Bend: Jace Bowman. HR — Great Bend: Connor Sell (1); Hays: Jarrett Sanders.
Hays 14, Great Bend 0 (4)
123 4 R H E
Hays 257 0 — 14 14 0
GB 000 0 — 0 2 1
Casey Sedbrook & Jarrett Sanders; Mitch Kottas, Bryce Beck & Beck & Kottas. W — Sedbrook. L — Kottas. 2B — Hays: Taylor Renz. HR — Hays: Hayden Hutchinson, Zach Legleiter.