BY JIM MISUNAS
Great Bend pitcher Layton Holden was masterful in a splendid three-hit performance that sparked the Panthers past Hutchinson High 10-3 in Tuesday's opening baseball game.
The second game was postponed by lightning and a thunderstorm warning after one inning with Hutchinson ahead 5-0 at the Great Bend Sports Complex.
Great Bend (1-2) travels to Liberal Friday for a Western Athletic Conference doubleheader.
GREAT BEND 10, HUTCHINSON 3 (G1) — Holden (1-1) struck out five Salthawk batters while mixing his assortment of fastball, curveball, splitter and change-up.
Holden's best pitch was a splitter, which reacts like a knuckleball when it breaks inside or outside. Holden focused on throwing low strikes with a southerly wind blowing 30 mph to left field. Keeping the baseball in the ballpark was his first priority.
"All my pitches were working," he said. "When the wind's blowing, you've got to make your pitches. As I kept going, my confidence kept going up. I figured out how to pitch to their batters."
Kanon Krol's double off an inside change-up drove home Myles Thompson for a unearned fourth-inning run.
Holden was backed by spectacular defense. Catcher Brad Beck threw out a pair of baserunners. Beck threw out Bradyn Rodriguez after Kanon Krol struck out to end the sixth inning. Second baseman Edwin Chavez flipped to shortstop Sage Koelsch to turn a third-inning double play on Kahler Dixon's groundball.
Great Bend's Stefan Spray drove in three runs. Mathew Moeder, Chayse Gruber and Matt Nieman each drove in two runs. Sage Koelsch reached base four times and scored three runs.
Jade Poe's first-inning single drove in Koelsch. Three walks by pitcher Kanon Krol created a five-run third inning. Koelsch scored on a wild pitch. Spray's single drove home pinch runner Miguel Martinez and Gruber. Moeder's single drove home Poe and Chavez for a 6-0 lead after a sacrifice bunt by Gavin Haberman.
Gruber's double drove home Koelsch and Martinez after Koelsch doubled and Beck singled in the fourth inning. Gruber scored on Spray's sacrifice fly and Haberman's single scored Poe for a 10-3 lead.
Hutchinson's Anthony Blackwell and Colby Akins scored on wild pitches in the seventh inning.
Hutchinson 000 100 2 — 3 4 2
Great Bend 105 202 x — 10 10 1
Krol, Turner (3), Cunningham (4), Elliott (6) and Elliott. Holden, Chavez (7) and Beck. W—Holden, 1-1. L—Krol, 1-1. 2B—GB—Koelsch, Gruber; H—Krol. 3B—H—Dixon
Dodge City 1-0 3-2
Garden City 1-1 5-1
Hays High 0-0 2-0
Great Bend 0-0 1-2
Liberal 0-1 4-1
DODGE CITY (1-0, 3-2)—WL Andover 8-0, 1-8; W Newton 11-3; L Valley Center 12-13; W *Garden City 7-2; 4-9—Wichita South; 4-13—*at Liberal (1); 4-16—*at Hays High; 4-20—*Great Bend (1); 4-23—Wichita Heights; 4-27—*Garden City (1); 4-30—*Great Bend (1); 5-4—at McPherson/Campus; 5-11—*Liberal (1)
HAYS HIGH (0-0, 2-0)—W Washburn Rural 5-3, 7-3; 4-9—*at Garden City; 4-13—*at Great Bend (1); 4-16—*Dodge City; 4-22—*Great Bend (1); 4-24—at Olathe Heritage; 4-30—*Liberal; 5-6/8—Hays Western Diamond; 5-11—at Ulysses
GARDEN CITY (1-1, 5-1)—WW Wichita Heights 19-0, 14-7; W *Liberal 7-4; WW Goodland 6-5, 14-2; L *Dodge City 2-7; 4-9—*Hays High; 4-16—*Great Bend; 4-20—*Liberal (1); 4-27—*at Dodge City (1); 5-3—at Lamar, Colo; 5-11—at Hays-TMP
LIBERAL (0-1, 4-1)—WW Hugoton 17-7, 10-6; L *Garden City 4-7; WW Guymon, Okla. 14-8, 19-3; 4-9—*at Great Bend; 4-13—*Dodge City (1); 4-15—Woodward, Okla.; 4-20—*at Garden City (1); 4-22—at Guthrie, Okla. Tournament; 4-30—*at Hays High; 5-11—*at Dodge City (1)
GREAT BEND (0-0, 1-2)—L Junction City 6-7; L McPherson 0-10; W Hutchinson 10-3; 4-9—*at Liberal; 4-13—*Hays (1); 4-16—*at Garden City; 4-20—*at Dodge City (1); 4-22—*at Hays (1); 4-27—Hays-TMP; 4-30—*Dodge City (1); 5-6/8—at Hays Western Diamond; 5-14—Goddard Eisenhower