BY JIM MISUNAS
WICHITA — To be honest, the Great Bat Cats lost Monday’s Sunflower Collegiate league playoff game early on when they went scoreless after the first two baserunners reached base in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
The Wichitas Sluggers eventually made the Bat Cats pay with a three-run eighth inning that started with a walk and error. The Sluggers scored four unearned runs for a hard-fought 5-2 victory over the Bat Cats. Great Bend likely ends the season with a 23-15 record. However, the Bat Cats hold out hope for a last-gasp invitation to the NBC World Series later this week.
Slugger Mason Hartman walked and Alex Jackson reached on an error. Dan Davila delivered a two-run double to score Hartman and Colton Bertus off hard-luck loser Easton Young. Adam Theis singled home Davila for a 5-2 lead that send the Sluggers against the Derby Twins/Hutchinson Monarchs winner Tuesday at Wichita State.
Red-hot Daunte Freeman singled home Collin Meinert in the first inning after a walk and error by catcher Zach Baxley. Wichita’s Khalil Thrasher tripled and scored on Zach Baxley’s fifth-inning sacrifice fly for a 1-1 tie. Hartman gave the Sluggers a 2-1 lead when he scored on a sixth-inning error.
Collin Meinert scored the Bat Cats’ second run on Dawsom Pomeroy’s seventh-inning groundout.
Bat Cats starter Zach Curry worked seven solid innings. He yielded one hit and struck out four batters in a 94-pitch outing. But reliever Easton Young was unable to record the third out after the eighth-inning error.
Slugger pitchers Lane Koetter and Braden Ash were touched for nine hits. The Bat Cats failed to take advantage of three Slugger errors and three walks.
Bat Cats Ryan Monson and Daunte Freeman reached base in the third. Chandler Bloomer and Nolan Riley reached dafely in the fourth. Monson and Freeman were stranded after back-to-back fifth inning singles.
The Sluggers rolled past the Bat Cats four of five times, winning 4-0, 5-4 and 7-3 during the regular season.
Wichita Sluggers 000 011 030 — 5 3 3
GB Bat Cats 100 000 000 — 2 9 2
Koetter, Ash (8) and Baxley. Curry, Young (8), Poe (8) and Bloomer. W–Koetter. L–Young. 2B–GB–Freeman; WS–Davila. 3B–WS–Thrasher.