Buoyed by a gutsy complete-game pitching performance by Great Bend right-hander Matt Marshall, the Chiefs hammered Hutchinson 12-4 Tuesday night in the second game of a Class AAA American Legion doubleheader.
The eight-run rule went into effect after six innings.
The Chiefs (15-15), a Class AAA American Legion baseball team, won for only the third time in their last 10 games during the regular-season home finale — the final game at Al Burns Memorial Field as the Chiefs will be moving crosstown next summer.
With the score knotted at 3-3 in the bottom of the fourth, the Chiefs’ Sam Hafner and Cole Smith drew back-to-back walks and Logan Buehler came through with a two-out, two-run triple for a 5-3 lead. The lead grew to 6-3 after Jace Bowman singled home Buehler.
Hutch closed to 6-4 in the fifth, but the Chiefs exploded for six runs in the sixth, highlighted by Bowman’s two-run double.
Marshall, who threw 113 pitches, overcame nine walks and struck out seven in capturing the win.
Great Bend 3
The Hutchinson Cardinals broke open a 2-2 game with four runs in the fifth inning and rolled past the Chiefs in the first game.
Leading 1-0, Hutchinson had a 2-0 lead after Jordan Stoecklein crunched a solo home run over the wall in right-center field in the top of the third.
But Great Bend tied the game at 2-2 on Marshall’s two-run single in the bottom of the third. Buehler, who reached on a single, and Bowman, who reached on an error, both scored on the play.
The game turned in Hutch’s favor in the fifth, where it scored four runs for a 6-2 lead. They also chased Chiefs left-hander Connor Sell in the process, with Sell giving way to right-hander Nick Ney.
Ney induced Nick LeGreca into hitting into an inning-ending double play, but not before Hutch had six straight batters reach base and then came through with the timely hits. Logan Ahrens and Justin Engelland hit consecutive two-run doubles off Sell to highlight the Cardinals’ surge.
Sell recorded seven strikeouts on the night, but the extra-base hits were the defining blows in Hutch knocking out the Chiefs, who couldn’t string any timely hits together as they stranded eight baserunners.
Trailing 7-2, Great Bend scored a single run in the sixth to make it 7-3 after Ney doubled to right-center and Hafner hit a ground-rule double to left-center, driving him in.
But Hutch squashed any thoughts of a late comeback after it scored a trio of runs in the seventh.
Great Bend pitcher/outfielder Mitch Kottas sat out Tuesday’s doubleheader for precautionary measures.
Kottas, who was the starting pitcher against Pratt on Monday night in the second game of a road doubleheader, was hit in the ear by a line drive and had to leave the game during the third inning.
Great Bend had a 9-2 lead before Kottas’ injury, but Pratt rallied for a 14-10 win to complete the sweep of the doubleheader. Pratt won 7-3 in the opener.
With the zone tournament on the horizon next week, the Chiefs will close the regular season tonight with a doubleheader at McPherson. The first game starts at 6, followed by the nightcap at 8.
The three-team zone tourney — featuring Hays, Dodge City and Great Bend — will be held Tuesday, July 19, and Wednesday, July 20, at Demon Field in Dodge City.
Great Bend will take on Dodge City in the first round, starting at 4 p.m.
Class AAA American
At Great Bend
Al Burns Memorial Field
Hutchinson 10, Great Bend 3
123 456 7 R H E
Hutchinson 101 041 3 — 10 13 2
Great Bend 002 001 0 — 3 9 2
Tyler Williams, Nick LaGreca (6) & Seaver Williams; Connor Sell, Nick Ney (5) & Landon Leuenberger & Darien Blackwill. W — T. Williams. L — Sell. 2B — Hutch (Justin Engelland); Great Bend (Nick Ney, Sam Hafner). 3B — Hutch (Logan Ahrens). HR — Hutch (Jordan Stecklein).