cBY JIM MISUNAS
It was party time Tuesday at Al Burns Memorial Field.
The Great Bend Bat Cats responded to a heartbreaking setback with a rousing 13-0 rout of Sunflower Collegiate League baseball leader Hutchinson Monarchs.
It marked the first time all season all three phases clicked for the Bat Cats (9-4), who return to Hutchinson Wednesday to meet the Monarchs (10-3). The Monarchs swept the first two games, both in their final at-bat.
Barton Cougar Jake Kuntzendorf (3-0) dominated the Monarchs with seven strikeouts in a masterful two-hit performance. Kolby Parker retired the final three batters to end the ballgame.
The Bat Cats earned a run-rule victory with a seven-run sixth inning. Alex Rodgers scored on an error after his triple scored Tyler Henry and Dylan Blomquist. Brett Freiberg singled home Noah Best. Jett Forrest singled home Freiberg. Zane Spinn scored on an error. Tyler Henry's single scored Forrest for a 13-0 lead.
Spinn launched a first-inning two-run homer after Best walked for a 2-0 lead off starter Zach Peters.
"I'm an early-count hitter. I put a good swing on it," Spinn said on a postgame radio interview. "We've wanted our bats to show up all season. This should give us some confidence."
Nico Baumbach scored on a passed ball to start a two-run fourth inning. Barton Cougar Micah Grover singled home Spinn for a 4-0 lead. Zach Peters struck out Kyle Gates and Henry and retired Dylan Blomquist to strand two runners.
Bat Cats left fielder Dylan Blomquist delivered the game's first signature defensive play with a catch against the fence on a Cooper Harris second-inning line shot. Shortstop Spinn relayed to second baseman Best for a 6-4-3 double play on a Cooper Harris groundball.
Rodgers' speed paved the way for a fifth-inning rally. Rodgers beat out an infield grounder and sprinted to third base. He scored on Brent Herrmann's throwing error. Forrest's RBI single scored Noah Best for a 6-0 lead.
Monarchs 000 000 0 — 0 2 4
Bat Cats 200 227 x — 13 12 0
Peters, Herrmann (5), Cornelius (6) and Harris. Kuntzendorf, Parker (7) and Forrest. W—Kuntzendorf, 3-0. L—Peters, 0-1. 2B—GB—Spinn; HR—GB—Spinn.