Since the Great Bend Class AAA American Legion baseball team will be playing in the Kansas Grand Slam 2011 wood bat tournament over the Fourth of July weekend in Salina, the Chiefs opted to use wood bats Tuesday night in a regular-season doubleheader with McPherson.
It turned out to be a wise decision as the Chiefs pounded out eight hits and rolled behind the four-hit pitching of right-hander Nick Ney during an 11-3 win in the opener at Al Burns Memorial Field. The game was stopped after five innings because of the eight-run rule.
Mitch Kottas had an RBI triple during the Chiefs’ three-run second and then added a two-run single in the fifth, furnishing the offensive bookends to put the squeeze on the Drillers.
In between, the Chiefs (12-8) put it out of reach by sending 11 batters to the plate in the third, scoring five runs on one hit as they capitalized on five McPherson errors in the inning.
The Drillers led 1-0 in the first after scoring a run on a passed ball. It came in the midst of Ney picking off a baserunner and catcher Landon Leuenberger throwing out a runner trying to steal second.
Great Bend scored a trio of runs with two out in the second for a 3-1 lead. Jace Bowman, who led off the inning with a single, moved into scoring position after Cole Smith planted a bunt single down the third-base line.
After Darien Blackwill hit an RBI groundout to second, driving in Bowman, the second out was recorded. Connor Sell followed by lifting a shallow pop fly down the right-field line for a single, driving in Smith to make it 2-1. Kottas followed by driving a triple to the warning track in left-center field, knocking in Sell for the two-run lead.
The Drillers closed the gap to 3-2 in the third on Aaron Marshall’s RBI single, but the Chiefs loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning after Matt Marshall doubled, Leuenberger reached on an error and Bowman walked.
Cole Smith followed by hitting a grounder between first baseman Marshall Ragland’s legs to score a pair of runs, giving the Chiefs a 5-3 lead. Blackwill then reached on an error on a bouncer up the middle, driving both Bowman and Smith to make it 7-3. After the second out, Sell reached on another Drillers error, scoring Blackwill to increase the margin to 8-3.
Bowman socked a two-run double down the left-field line in the fourth, driving in Leuenberger, who had earlier walked, to stretch the margin to 9-3.
Kottas then added his two-RBI hit in the fifth to end it.
Ney finished with five strikeouts.
NOTES — The Chiefs head to Salina on Friday, where they will play Wichita Rockies at 1:30 p.m. at James Matson Field. On Saturday morning, the Chiefs will take on the Wichita 18 Reds at 11:15 at James Matson Field before they head to Dean Evans Stadium for a 3:45 p.m. game on Saturday vs. Millard North. Pool-play games will be held Sunday and the championship round on Monday.
Great Bend Chiefs 11, McPherson Drillers 3 (5)
123 45 R H E
McPherson 101 01 — 3 4 6
Great Bend 035 12 — 11 8 1
Chris Rakowski & Colby Moddelmog; Nick Ney & Landon Leuenberger. W — Ney. L — Rakowski. 2B — Great Bend (Matt Marshall, Jace Bowman). 3B — Great Bend (Mitch Kotttas).
McPherson Drillers 16, Great Bend Chiefs 14