The Great Bend Braves struggled early on Sunday in a Class A American Legion baseball doubleheader against Andover, losing the first game 12-3.
But the Braves (23-6) came alive offensively in the second game and beat the Trojans 15-8 at Al Burns Memorial Field.
“There’s no doubt in my mind what the difference was and that was mental preparation,” Braves head coach Randy Beck said about the difference between the two games. “We weren’t prepared to play Game 1, and we got locked in and competed mentally and got the job done physically in Game 2.
“We played them (at) the beginning of the year and that’s another thing about the mental part. We run-ruled them twice. We scored over 30 runs in the doubleheader. That probably had a little to do with it, too.”
The Braves were without their top offensive threat with Dakota Conaway out with a broken finger. Randy Beck said that he wasn’t sure if Conaway was out for the rest of the summer or not.
While Andover got ahead of the Braves early on in both games, the Trojans were able to hold on to its early lead in the first game.
Andover took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth inning, but the Braves were able to close the gap.
“We’ve been down quite a bit this season,” Randy Beck said. “So we’re pretty cool when it comes to that. We know that we’re a pretty good hitting team and we’re able to put some runs on the board. Not every game but most games. So we have that confidence in the back of our minds. That’s the big thing, but you don’t want to dig too big of a hole, obviously.”
With two outs in the fourth, Bryce Beck hit a two-run single into right field, making the score 4-2.
The Trojans scored another three runs in the top of the fifth, three in the top of the sixth and two in the top of the seventh.
The Braves were able to score one more run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Braden Jones hit an RBI single, driving in Jonathon Allende.
Dillon Reiser claimed the loss for the Braves.
“We didn’t get ahead in counts a lot,” Randy Beck said. “When you do that, then you’re forced to throw fastballs. When you can sit on a fastball, you tend to be a better hitter. We got ourselves not in pitching counts, but in their favor. When you have to feed them fastballs, it can get you in trouble.”
The Braves found themselves down 3-0 after the top of the first in the second game.
However, Great Bend was able to bat through its entire batting order, scoring nine runs on six hits in the bottom of the inning.
Bryce Beck got the Chiefs started with a single. He made it to third base on an error.
Danny Herrman then took advantage of the runner in scoring position with an RBI single.
Allende drew a walk and Derek Simmons hit a bunt single to load the bases for Lance Ward.
Ward followed with a single to drive in two runs.
Jones drew a walk to load the bases again, and Reiser hit an RBI single.
Mark Lang, who got the win starting on the mound for the Braves, plated a run by getting a walk.
Bryce Beck, up to bat for the second time, reached on an error with a run scoring on the play. Herrman got his second single of the inning and Allende got his second walk of the inning to score a run.
The Braves last run of the inning was scored on a fielder’s choice that Simmons hit into.
The Braves scored four runs in the second inning on an RBI triple by Reiser and a base-clearing, three-run double by Allende.
Ward got his third RBI of the game in the third inning with a single and Brady Buehler grounded out, scoring the Braves final run of the game.
CLASS A AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL
At Al Burns Memorial Field
Andover 12, Great Bend 3
123 456 7 R H E
Andover 030 133 2 — 12 14 3
Great Bend 000 210 0 — 3 5 2
Forrest Scott & Tanner Cairnes; Dillon Reiser & Daniel Herrman. W — Scott; L — Reiser. 2B — Andover (Spencer, Scott). 3B — Andover (Nichols).
Great Bend 15, Andover 8
123 4 R H E
Andover 302 3 — 8 7 1
Great Bend 942 0 — 15 10 0
Cooper Nichols & Tanner Cairnes; Mark Lang & Bryce Beck. W — Lang; L — Nichols. 2B — Great Bend (Allende, Simmons). 3B — Andover (Nichols); Great Bend (Reiser).