The Great Bend Panthers are accustomed to pitcher Hunter Marcum carrying a heavy load.
Kaylee Unruh helped lighten that load with a 10-RBI doubleheader that sparked the Panthers to 8-1 and 15-5 victories Tuesday at the Great Bend Sports Complex. Aleah Urban supplied eight runs and five hits in the second game.
Great Bend (5-1, 4-0 WAC) handed Dodge City (7-3, 2-2 WAC) its first league losses. The Panthers play at Hays Thursday.
Unruh capped her festive night with six RBIs in the nightcap. She enjoyed the moment with a perfect smile that convinced you everything was right with her world.
“They were some of my best games ever. My confidence was skyrocking,” Unruh said. “I wanted to put the ball in play to help Hunter. We always want to get Hunter the lead. We were really happy.”
PANTHERS 8, DODGE CITY 1 — Marcum (5-1) weaved her usual magic with a solid eight strikeout opener. She stranded eight baserunners and worked out of bases-loaded situation to end the game.
“We played really well defensively the first game,” said Minton. “Hunter shut them down and we made a few defensive plays. We worked out of a few jams. She had a great day today.”
After yielding a home run to Ruehle, Marcum adjusted by working in off-speed pitches and changeups.
“Hunter started changing up pitches and hitting different locations,” Minton said. “She did a good job changing it up and going after some of their batters.”
Three Dodge City errors gift wrapped a four-run third inning for the Panthers. After Baylee Beck singled, the Red Demons misplayed Kendel Sell’s bunt. Dodge City pitcher Emily Stephenson dropped a routine pop fly by Urban that scored Beck. Unruh’s single scored Sell and Urban and Unruh scored on another error.
Unruh’s RBI single scored Urban and Allison Neel;and’s two-run single scored Unruh and Emma Cape in a three-run fifth inning. Unruh’s single scored Urban after an error in the sixth inning.
Unruh said she had seen Stephenson during the summer, which helped her stay away from her curveball.
PANTHERS 15, DODGE CITY 5 — Urban and Unruh were unstoppable in the nightcap by reaching base on 10 consecutive plate appearances with eight hits.
Dodge City starter Regan Lopp struggled with control with nine baserunners reaching on walks and hit batters.
Unruh delivered two-run singles in the third, fourth and sixth inning. Urban singled five times, twice on bunts, and scored five runs. Great bend’s top four batters scored 10 runs.
Cailee McMullen’s RBI single finished a four-run sixth inning that triggered a run rule. Cape followed Unruh’s two-RBI single with an RBI base hit.
PANTHERS 8, DODGE CITY 1
Dodge City 010 000 0 — 1 8 4
Great Bend 004 031 x — 8 10 3
E. Stephenson and Ruehle. Marcum and Unruh. W—Marcum. L—Stephenson. 2B—GB—Burkhart, Urban; DC—Armstrong, C. Stephenson. HR—DC—Ruehle.
PANTHERS 15, DODGE CITY 5
Dodge City 010 301 — 5 5 1
Great Bend 422 304 — 15 15 2
Lopp, Ortiz (4) and Ruehle. Marcum and Unruh. W—Marcum. L—Lopp. 2B—GB—Cape; DC—Ruehle. HR—DC—Ruehle.