The Great Bend Braves played host to the Braves Baseball Classic on Saturday at Al Burns Memorial Field.
Pool play ends with the Hutchinson-Dodge City game today at 10 a.m.
Once pool play concludes, teams will be seeded and elimination games are scheduled to begin at noon.
Great Bend, which went 2-1 in pool play, won the tournament opener against the Hutchinson Cardinals 8-6, but lost to Dodge City later in the afternoon, 14-6. The Rangers were able to end the game in the sixth inning against the Braves.
The Braves were one of two teams to conclude pool play on Saturday, winning the final game of the day 9-1 against Ness City.
Dodge City also ended its game against Ness City early, closing out the game after four innings, 13-1.
Hutchinson won its game against Ness City 10-0 in six innings.
After the first day of the tournament, Ness City will be the No. 4 seed and will play the No. 1 seed at Noon.
Great Bend 8,
The Braves jumped ahead early with three runs in the first inning and two runs in the second, but Hutchinson was able to narrow the gap in the bottom of the third inning with four runs.
“We had a few errors that haunted us in that inning,” Braves head coach Randy Beck said. “I think we had a couple of walks, and you can’t give any free passes to a pretty good hitting team and expect nothing to happen. We did get out of that and recovered very well. We came back and scored a couple in the following inning and never gave up.”
Great Bend responded with another three runs in the fourth inning.
The Cardinals were able to get another two runs in the final inning but the attempted rally fell short.
The Braves finished the game with nine hits and three errors while the Cardinals had three hits and one error.
Dakota Conaway, who had big games at the plate for the Braves in all three outings on Saturday, was 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles.
Braden Jones had a two doubles as well and Derek Simmons had a double in the game.
“We really stuck it out at the plate and took it to them,” Beck said.
Lance Ward recorded the win as the starting pitcher for the Braves.
Dodge City 14,
Great Bend 6 (6)
In Great Bend’s second game of the day, the Braves could not figure out Dodge City pitcher Jordan Doan, who went 5 1/3 innings for the win.
The Braves were able to get a lone run in the bottom of the second inning making the game 4-1, but it wasn’t until the sixth inning that the Braves’ offense was able to get rolling.
“He’s a good pitcher,” Beck said. “He pitched against (Great Bend High School) during the spring season in high school baseball. I knew he was going to come out and compete against us. He came out and threw his fast ball. He was spotting it up and throwing fairly hard. We haven’t seen a lot of good pitching per se so far this summer.
“He was rushing it up there pretty good. It took us a couple of times through the line up to get to him.”
The sixth started with Ward getting hit by a pitch. Ward was later out in the base path when he ran into a ground ball hit by Jones.
“We got a few free passes in that inning,” Beck said. “We had a few key hits as well.”
Jones moved to second on a wild pitch.
After another hit by pitch loaded the bases, Mark Lang, who started the game on the mound for the Braves, fouled out to the Rangers’ catcher.
Danny Herrman drove in a pair of runs with a double and Conaway followed him two batters later with a base-clearing double, putting three more runs on the board.
“I’d say that Dakota has been our most consistent hitter all summer,” Beck said. “He’s seeing the ball well, not missing a lot of pitches and we like getting him up with runners in scoring position. We know we can expect good things out of him when he’s at the plate.”
Dodge City put runs on the scoreboard in the first two innings to make it 4-0 early in the game. The Rangers put the heat on in the fourth and fifth innings.
The Rangers finished the game with eight hits while the Braves recorded four hits and five errors.
Lang went 3 1/3 innings and recorded the loss.
“Our pitchers did a pretty good job,” Beck said. “I think he gave up three hits in his outing and a few free passes that were not at a good time, but he threw a good game. We just didn’t make the defense plays behind him to keep him in there.”
Great Bend 9,
Ness City 1 (6)
The Braves game against Ness City was Jones’ second start of the season, and he made an impact.
The right-hander pitched a six-inning complete game, held onto a shutout for the first five innings and finished the game with only four hits allowed.
Jones gave up two walks and finished with three strikeouts.
Behind Jones, the Braves had some great defensive plays.
Lang made a diving grab in right field to prevent an extra-base hit, while Colton Zink and Conaway, who played third base and short stop, respectively, made several plays on hard hit ground balls.
Herrman made his first start at catcher because the Braves are down to only nine players for the tournament with a few kids away at a basketball camp. Herrman caught a couple of base runners trying to steal third base.
“That is the first time Danny’s caught,” Beck said. “I’m down to nine players this weekend. So we’re trying to piece together what we can. The kids have done a great job of accepting their roles, playing out of their normal positions, getting out of their comfort zones and accepting that.
“These guys have played baseball for several years, and we expect them to know how to play other positions besides their normal positions.”
The Braves were able to put runs on the board in both the bottom of the first, second and third innings.
Jonathon Allende reached on a fielder’s choice in the first inning and Conaway drove him in with a single.
No one got the RBI in the second inning with Simmons scoring while Herrman was caught in a run down while stealing second.
Allende scored on a throwing error after Zink grounded into a fielder’s choice in the third inning to make it 3-0.
The Braves doubled their score in the bottom of the fourth inning with Herrman getting an RBI with a sacrifice bunt, Allende driving a run in with a single and Conaway hitting an RBI single.
Herrman added another RBI with a single in the sixth inning. Ward struck an RBI double deep into center field and Jones closed out the scoring with an RBI single to make it 9-1.
BRAVES BASEBALL CLASSIC
at Al Burns Memorial Field
Great Bend 8, Hutchinson 6
Dodge City 13, Ness City 1 (4)
Dodge City 14, Great Bend 6 (6)
Hutchinson 10, Ness City 0 (6)
Great Bend 9, Ness City 1 (6)
Hutchinson vs. Dodge City, 10 a.m.
No. 1 seed vs. No. 4 seed, Noon
No. 2 seed vs. No. 3 seed, 2 p.m.
Championship game, 4 p.m.