It comes down to a two-day season for the Great Bend Chiefs.
The Chiefs (10-14) open Class AAA American Legion Zone Tournament action at 4 against Dodge City on Monday afternoon in Hays.
Larks Park is the site of the two-day zone, where Hays is the top seed. The Great Bend/Dodge City winner meets Hays at 6:30. The losing teams from the opening games meet in elimination play on Tuesday, with the championship game following. The zone champion qualifies for the state tourney.
The Chiefs are coming off a 7-5 come-from-behind victory over Hays’ Thomas More Prep in the regular-season and home finale on Thursday night at the Sports Complex.
“It was probably one of the better games that we’ve played this season, as far as being a complete game,” Great Bend head coach Michael Stettinger said of his team rallying from two runs down for the win. “We played good ball both offensively and defensively, and that’s always good when you can end your regular season like that going into the zone.”
Great Bend’s rally occurred in the bottom of the sixth inning. Trailing TMP 5-3, the Chiefs erupted for four runs in the sixth and then pitcher Nick Ney threw three scoreless innings in putting the clamps on the Monarchs.
Ney or Mitch Kottas figure to start the game against Dodge City, according to Stettinger. The likes of Connor Sell, Bryce Beck and Braden Jones will also likely see mound time.
“They’ve all got to be available on Monday,” Stettinger said. “It’s one of those deals where when it gets to this time in the season, everybody’s got to be ready to pitch.”
Beck pitched the first five innings against TMP, followed by Jones throwing the sixth and Ney taking over in the seventh, where he scattered four hits.
In a road game last Tuesday at Dodge City, Kottas pulled himself out of the game in the fourth inning and his team trailing the Rangers 6-2 in a game they beat Great Bend 7-3.
In winning the second game 9-6, it was Dodge City’s sixth straight win, improving its record to 18-21. Hays entered the final week of play with a 37-8 mark.