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Great Bend 17-and-under Braves open season with strong offense
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The Great Bend Braves, an American Legion 17-and-under baseball team, has had six games on its schedule so far this season.
They have played four and scored 56 runs.
The Braves sit at 3-1 on the season after doubleheaders with Hays at home on Friday and on the road against Andover on Sunday. Their games against McPherson on Tuesday were canceled because of a scheduling issue.
Braves head coach Randy Beck said that he wasn’t sure if the games were just canceled or if they were considered forfeit by the league.
“I would have to talk to the vice president or the president of the league to see what happens,” Randy Beck said, “but I don’t feel right taking the wins. It was just a scheduling mix up.”
The Braves opened the season with a 20-10 win over Hays, but followed it up with a 16-4 loss.
“Bryce (Beck) did well in the first game,” Randy Beck said of his starting pitcher in the first game. “We gave them seven runs. I think we were down 7-0, and we came back to win 20-10.
“It’s nice to get one of those early in the season. This way if we get down early, kids won’t give up because we’ve been able to come back before.”
In Andover, Great Bend was able to sweep the doubleheader, taking the first game 17-2 and winning the nightcap 15-6.
“We’ve really hit the ball well,” Randy Beck said. “It has been a little of both (long ball and short game). It has mainly been long ball for us recently. Our short game is not where we need it to be.
“The last few games, the wind has been blowing out to left field or center field. When we’ve hit the ball in the air it tends to ride.”
Randy Beck said that Dakota Conaway has been a big part of the Braves offense.
“Dakota Conaway has been swinging it at the plate,” Randy Beck said. “He’s been batting in the three-hole for us.”
Mitch Johnson took the win in the first game against Andover, and Jonathon Allende, who came in as relief for starting pitcher Mark Lang, got the win the second game.
The Braves next doubleheader is tonight with the first game starting at 6 p.m. in Sedgwick.
“I’ve never played them before,” Randy Beck said. “If we show up and play solid baseball, I think we’ll be fine.”

Great Bend Braves 2011 17-and-under
baseball roster

Alec Witt, Dallas Schmeidler, Brady Buehler, Mitch Johnson, Braden Jones, Mark Lang, Lance Ward, Dillon Reiser, Bryce Beck, Derek Simmons, Jonathon Allende, Dakota Conaway and Daniel Herrman.