SALINA — Momentum is a fleeting thing in a baseball game. A team has it one inning and the next, everything changes.
At least that’s what transpired for the Great Bend Chiefs on Thursday afternoon during their second game at the Kansas Grand Slam Wood Bat Tournament.
Trailing Columbus (Neb.) Cornerstone 1-0 entering the top of the fourth at James Matson Field, Chiefs designated hitter Aaron Rodriguez drove a two-out double just inside the left-field line. First baseman Tristan Hall then followed by smashing a double off the fence in centerfield to score Rodriguez, knot the score and give their team some momentum.
Unfortunately for Great Bend, the momentum was short-lived. Columbus’ first seven batters reached base during a six-run uprising in the bottom of the fourth, and then Cornerstone added a pair of runs in the fifth to put the eight-run rule into effect in a 9-1 triumph.
“Aaron came up and got a good pitch to hit,” Chiefs head coach Michael Stettinger said of A-Rod reaching with his two-base hit. “The guy’s got a lot of power. It’s something I have been waiting to see out of him.
“Tristan followed it up by getting a good pitch to hit and drove it off the wall, tying the game at 1-1, but we just weren’t able to play defense after that.”
The Chiefs, who totaled four hits in the game, had five errors — two in the first, one in the third and two in the fourth.
“We have to play better defense,” Stettinger said. “It’s something we struggled with. Any time you have more errors than runs, it’s pretty hard to win.
“That’s the bottom line.”
The only other hits for Great Bend came in the third, where Tyler Nuss and Jared Maneth hit consecutive singles to start the inning. After Logan Zecha’s sacrifice put Nuss and Maneth in scoring position, Bryce Beck and Shade Wondra both flew out to end the threat.
Right-hander Braden Jones, who took the loss, pitched into the fourth before he was relieved by Nuss.
Jones did not allow a hit until the third, although he still trailed 1-0.
Cole Fullner pitched a complete game for Cornerstone.
Other Grand Slam scores can be viewed at: http://kgs.presentyourbest.com
23RD ANNUAL KANSAS GRAND SLAM
WOOD BAT TOURNAMENT
James Matson Field
Columbus (Neb.) Cornerstone 9,
Great Bend Chiefs 1 (5)
123 45 R H E
GB 000 10 — 1 5 2
Col 100 62 — 9 7 0
Braden Jones, Tyler Nuss (4) & Jared Maneth; Cole Fullner & Nathan Sliva. W — Fullner. L — Jones. 2B — Great Bend (Aaron Rodriguez, Tristan Hall); Columbus (Blake Bubak, Sliva). 3B — Columbus (Austin Ewers).