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Pittsburg eliminates Great Bend Braves, 7-6
Marysville wins A state championship


EL DORADO – The Great Bend Braves led by four runs for the second consecutive game at the American Legion A state baseball tournament.

Pittsburg (21-5) rallied for a walkoff 7-6 victory Friday with five runs in the final two innings to qualify for Saturday’s A state championship game against Marysville (31-2).

The Braves (12-15) had unbeaten Marysville and Pittsburg on the ropes in back-to-back games, but were outscored 14-2 in the late innings.

The Braves featured at least two baserunners In five of seven innings.

“We had our opportunities to score more runs, which is what you ask for,” said Great Bend coach Randy Beck. “We sat on our lead and didn’t capitalize on our opportunities. You’ve got to put a good baseball team away.”

Trey Milsap singled home Jaxon Wondra and Kale Kern for a 2-0 lead. Pittsburg’s Brady Vanbecelaere singled in Brady Badart for a 2-1 score.

Great Bend’s Colin Saffa scored on a fourth-inning wild pitch. Wondra and Kern delivered back-to-back RBIs to score Eli Contreras and Peyden Oelger for a 5-1 lead.

Pittsburg outscored the Braves 6-1 in the final 41/2 innings. Cooper Vaughn’s RBI single made it 5-2. Pitcher Oelger escaped a bases-loaded jam by retiring Jayden Brown after a 3-0 count.

Carson Poe’s single scored Oelger for a 6-2 lead with six outs left for the Braves.

“Our pitcher Peyden (Oelger) threw a heck of a game,” Beck said. “We played a pretty good baseball game other than a couple errors that hurt. We left too many baserunners on base.”

Pittsburg’s Brown, Jett Burgess and Cole Hayden drove home sixth-inning runs as left fielder Kern preserved the lead with a dazzling catch on Carston Simmons’ line drive.

Pittsburg started the game-winning rally with a walk and error on a bunt off reliever Gavin Gilkison. Braves reliever Wondra was unable to stop the momentum yielding two hits and a walk.

A walk to Burgess forced home Brady Crossland for a 6-6 tie. Kole Wiles rocketed the game-winning single past second baseman Milsap.

Beck said every player improved their baseball skill during the summer.

“We improved a long ways this summer,” he said. “The second half of the season, and played good baseball. We competed hard right to the end. The players took it upon themselves to get better as baseball players. when each player improves 5% percent, that’s great.”

MARYSVILLE 9, BRAVES 4 – The clock struck midnight when the Great Bend Braves finished a doubleheader day that started at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

Great Bend Brave Kale Kern enjoyed a rare day in the middle of every critical situation at the American Legion A state baseball tournament.

Kern rescued the Braves with clutch hitting to beat Pittsburg 8-7; then scored on Trey Milsap's 3-run inside-the-park homer against Marysville for a 4-0 winners bracket lead.

Kern started a relief appearance against Marysville with a perfect pickoff to preserve a 4-3 lead. The Braves added an insurance run on Milsap's perfect bunt that scored Ian Premer.

Up 5-3, the Braves were nine outs away from advancing to Saturday's championship game when the momentum shifted. 

Marysville lineup reached base six times against pitcher Kern to build a 7-5 lead. Marysville (31-2) added two runs for a 9-5 winners bracket victory to advance to Saturday's 11 a.m. championship game.

Great Bend roared to a 4-0 lead behind starting pitcher Austin Gilbert, who threw three shutout innings. Peyden Oelger scored on a first-inning wild pitch. Milsap's clutch inside-the-park homer drove home Jaxon Wondra and Kern, who reached on Marysville third-inning errors.

Braves coach Randy Beck was unable to solve Great Bend's pitching, which yielded nine runs in the final three innings.

Marysville's Wes Anderson and Carter Olson scored on fourth-inning wild pitches and Olson doubled home Gavin Turk for a 4-3 score. 

Two walks and a hit batter ignited a 4-run fifth inning. Anderson singled home two runs. Two runs scored on Olson's infield single that first baseman Ian Premer fielded, but pitcher Kern missed covering first base. Anderson scored a critical seventh run with superb baserunning.

Marysville's Brandon Schmelzle tripled home a run and he scored on a sixth-inning wild pitch for a 9-5 final.

BRAVES 8, PITTSBURG 7 – Despite 26 baserunners, Great Bend’s chance of upsetting Pittsburg in the A Legion state tournament depended on one final opportunity to deliver a base hit with the bases loaded.

Like the postman, Kern delivered with a bases-clearing double that sparked a wild 8-7 upset victory over Pittsburg in a second-round Legion state tournament game. The Braves' third chance with the bases loaded scored Gavin Gilkison, Peyden Oelger and Jaxon Wondra for a 7-6 lead.

When Pittsburg tied the score 7-7, Kern delivered again with the game-winning single that scored Gilkison. Oelger (3-0) earned the victory with two scoreless innings. Gilbert stranded the tying runner on base by retiring Cooper Vaughn to end the ballgame.

The Braves failed to score in the first two innings after loading the bases. Trey Milsap singled home Kern for a third-inning run to salvage a run after a leadoff walk and double. Oelger and Ian Premer drove home runs with groundouts.

After trailing 4-2, Soupiset and Gilkison walked. Soupiset scored on Oelger's single. Wondra singled to load the bases to set up Kern's game-changing double.

Pittsburg scored three runs on errors, twice after batters walked and once on a wild pitch. Brady Badert scored the tying run on a throwing error for a 7-7 tie.

PITTBURG 6, EL DORADO 3  Pittsburg's Jett Burgess, Kole Wiles, Brady Badart, Carston Simmons and Nate Mitchell drove home runs. Scheele earned the victory. Brady VanBecelaere earned the victory.

PITTSBURG 6, MARYSVILLE 5  Pittsburg's Brown drove home three runs and Brady VanBecelaere drove home two runs. Cole Hayden finished a 104-pitch complete game outing.

MARYSVILLE 15, PITTSURG 6 (CHAMPIONSHIP) – Marysville (32-3) completed a storybook summer with a A state championship. Carter Olson delivered four hits and three RBIs. Landon Schmitz drove home three runs. Brandon Schmelzle and Gavyn LeDuc drove home two runs.

Great Bend 200 301 0 – 6 8 2

Pittsburg 010 103 2 – 7 16 2

Oelger, Gilkison (6), Wondra (6) and Saffa. Brown, Mitchell (7) and VanBecelaere. W—Mitchell. L—Gilkison, 1-1. 2B—GB—Premer; P—Mitchell.  

Great Bend 103 010 0 – 5 7 1

Marysville 000 342 x – 9 6 2

Gilbert, Kern (4), Poe (5), Hekele (6) and Saffa. LeDuc, Scheele (5) and Haefele. W—Scheele. L—Kern, 1-4. 2B—GB—M—Olson. 3B—GB—Premer; M—Schmelzle. HR—GB—Milsap.

Great Bend 001 241 0 – 8 12 4

Pittsburg 003 310 0 – 7 11 1

Milsap, Kern (4), Oelger (5), Gilbert (7) and Saffa. Wiles, Simmons (3), Burgess (5), Nickle (5) and Jones. W—Oelger, 3-0. L—Nickle. 2B—GB—Premer, Kern; P—Badart, Wiles.

Pittsburg 002 013 0 – 6 7 4

Marysville 011 012 0 – 5 8 1

Hayden and Vaughn. Scheele, Detweiler (6) and Haefele. W—Hayden. L—Scheele. 2B—P—Mitchell, VanBecelaere; M—Anderson. 3B—M—Schmitz.

Pittsburg 110 040 0 – 6 5 3

Marysville 013 524 0 – 15 12 3

Anderson, Mitchell (4) and VanBecelaere. Detweiler, Anderson (5) and Hekele. W–Detweiler. L–2B–M–Leduc, Haefele, Schmitz; P–Nickle. HR–P–Mitchell..

El Dorado 120 000 0 – 3 5 1

Pittsburg 400 011 x – 6 11 0

Perkins and Fowler. VanBecelaere, Burgess (5) and Hayden. W–VanBecelaere. L–Perkins. 2B–P–Badart; ED–Perkins. 3B–P–Simmons. . 


SATURDAY.–CHAMPIONSHIP–Pittsburg 6, Marysville 3; Marysville 15, Pittsburg 6

FRIDAY–Pittsburg 10, El Dorado 5; Pittsburg 7, Great Bend 6

THURSDAY—Great Bend 8, Pittsburg 7; Marysville 6, El Dorado 5; Pittsburg 12, Seneca 7; El Dorado 12, Ottawa 3; Marysville 9, Great Bend 5

WEDNESDAY–El Dorado 10, Garnett 0; Marysville 12, Seneca 2; Pittsburg 10, Ottawa 0; Great Bend 1, Topeka Senators 0, 9 innings; Garnett 16, Seneca 6; Ottawa 6, Topeka Senators 3