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Chiefs split games at Kansas Grand Slam Wood Bat Tournament
spt mm Kottas
Mitch Kottas of the Great Bend Chiefs had a trio of hits in their first two games in the 2012 Kansas Grand Slam Wood Bat Tournament on Saturday in Salina. - photo by Mack McClure Great Bend Tribune

SALINA — The Great Bend Chiefs AAA American Legion baseball team had mixed results using wood bats during the 2012 Kansas Grand Slam Wood Bat Tournament on Saturday.
The Chiefs (6-8) beat the Kansas Rattlers 10-6 in a lid-lifter at 9 a.m. at Dean Evans Stadium before falling to the Salina Falcons 10-4 in a 3:45 p.m. game at James Matson Field.
“We got the big hits when we needed to and we also did a good job of bunting and moving the runners around,” Chiefs head coach Michael Stettinger said of beating the Rattlers despite getting outhit, 10-9. “We played some good defense behind a good pitching performance from Bryce Beck.
“One thing that it came down to, once we got people on, we were able to move some people into scoring position and we came up with some key hits.”
Stettinger said there isn’t much difference between hitting with a wood bat or an aluminum one.
“When it comes down to it, the only difference is the sweet spots,” he said. “They’re not as big (with wood bats), and I thought our guys did a good job of focusing and really trying to center up the baseball today and overall, we hit all right.
“In the second game, we didn’t hit well enough to win.”
The Chiefs return to action in the tournament on Monday morning at 9 against defending Grand Slam champion Millard (Neb.) North before taking on the Kansas Titans at 1:30.
Great Bend Chiefs 10,
Kansas Rattlers 6
Leading early before falling behind 5-4 in the fifth inning of the opener, the Chiefs answered back in a big way, scoring two runs in the bottom of the fifth for a 6-5 lead and then adding four more in the sixth for a decisive 10-6 edge.
Braden Jones hit a two-run double in the fifth, and Jace Bowman and Trent Schremmer had RBI singles in the sixth. The Chiefs’ final two runs crossed the plate on a Rattlers fielding error and a passed ball.
The Chiefs had eight different players with at least one hit, led by Mitch Kottas, who was 2-for-2 with two runs scored. He drove in the first of two Chiefs runs in the first inning with a single, and Daniel Herrman also added an RBI base hit.
Beck doubled in the second and scored on Dakota Conaway’s RBI groundout to first base for a 3-0 Chiefs lead.
After the Rattlers closed to 3-1 in the top of the third, Jones had an RBI sacrifice bunt, driving in Schremmer from third on a squeeze play against Rattlers reliever Mikabe Erdman, who replaced starter Ryan Swank during the inning, for a 4-1 edge.
The Rattlers closed to 4-2 in the fourth and then took the lead, 5-4, with a trio of runs in the fifth, highlighted by Tevin Renken’s  two-run single.
But the Chiefs had an answer.
Salina Falcons 10,
Great Bend 4
Maintaining a 4-2 lead, Salina’s three-run fifth proved to be the difference, stretching its lead to 7-2.
Sending eight batters to the plate in the fifth against Chiefs pitcher Nick Ney, Salina’s Dalton Dooley led off with a double, one of three two-base hits it had in the inning. He scored on Blake Jones’ RBI double and, after Austin Parker singled Blake Jones to third, Mark Vaughn’s two-run double capped the onslaught.
“They strung a bunch of hits together and when they got guys on, they ended up loading up the bases and got some hits with runners on,” Stettinger said.
In the bottom of the fifth, Herrman’s two-out suicide squeeze with the bases loaded drove in a run to pull the Chiefs within 7-4, but Braden Jones ventured too far off the bag after rounding second base and was thrown out to end the inning.
“We had several times that we had runners in scoring position and we made some baserunning errors that kept us from scoring some runs,” Stettinger said.


2012 Kansas Grand Slam
Wood Bat Tournament

At Salina
Dean Evans Stadium


Great Bend Chiefs 10,
Kansas Rattlers 6
                123  456  7       R   H  E
Rattlers   001  131  0  —  6  13  3
Chiefs      211  024  x  — 10   9  3
     Ryan Swank, Mikabe Erdman (3), Easton Fry (6) & Tanner Thurman & Derek Dean; Bryce Beck, Braden Jones (6) & Mitch Kottas. W — Beck. L — Erdman. 2B — Rattlers: Cox, Dean, Larkin, Renken; Chiefs: Jones, Beck.

At Salina
James Matson Field


Salina Falcons 10,
Great Bend Chiefs 4
              123  456  7      R   H  E
Salina    130  031  2 — 10 15  0
Chiefs    002  020  0 —  4   9   0
     Daniel O’Brien & Austin Parker; Great Bend: Nick Ney, Braden Jones (5), Connor Sell (7) & Bryce Beck. 2B — Falcons: Dooley, Bradley, Blake Jones; Great Bend: Brady Buehler. 3B — Great Bend: Nick Ney.

Saturday’s scores
Salina Falcons 10, Great Bend Chiefs 4
Hutchinson Cardinals 5, Wichita Rockies 4
Wichita Rockies 9, Millhouse 18U 1
Kansas Rattlers 4, Kansas Titans 2
Hutchinson Cardinals 11, Wichita Aces 7
Great Bend Chiefs 10, Kansas Rattlers 6