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TMP-Marian sweeps twinbill from Great Bend
spt mm Braden Jones pitch
Great Bend pitcher Braden Jones unloads a pitch to the plate during the first game of a non-conference doubleheader at Thomas More Prep-Marian Thursday night. - photo by Mack McClure Great Bend Tribune

HAYS — A familiar pattern has developed all season for the Great Bend High School Panthers baseball team.
The Panthers have won four straight games only to lose three of their next four. This has happened twice this season, including a 9-7, 14-5 doubleheader loss to Thomas More Prep-Marian on the road on Thursday evening.
TMP-Marian (17-1) captured its 16th and 17th straight wins, while the Panthers, desperately needing wins to enhance their Class 5A regional seeding, dropped to 10-6 overall.
“We’ve just got to stay positive, get better in practice every day and get after it next week,” Great Bend head coach Randy Beck said. “We’ve got four games — two against a Western Athletic Conference team in Garden City on Tuesday and then have two next Thursday at Larned to finish up the regular season and we’ll see where we stand going into the postseason — that’s when it really counts.”
The Monarchs, who have finished as the 3A state runner-up in each of the past two seasons, seem poised in making another run deep in the postseason.
“They’re definitely a good team, a lot of seniors on that team and you can tell they have won a lot of games,” said Randy Beck of the Monarchs, who finished 25-1 last spring, falling to Silver Lake in a state title game.
The Monarchs crested in the third inning of the second game, building their 5-3 lead to 9-5 on Nick Hammeke’s three-run triple, helping his own cause. They added five more runs in the fifth.
Hammeke (8-0) went the distance on the mound in capturing the win, striking out eight and shrugging off a tough start.
Great Bend seized a 3-0 lead in the top of the first after Connor Sell led off the game with a double and scored on Jace Bowman’s RBI groundout. Matt Marshall walked and scored the Panthers’ second run and then Dakota Conaway singled and later scored their third run.
But the Monarchs touched starting pitcher Sell for five runs in the first as their first seven batters reached base.
After the Panthers tied the game at 5 with a pair of runs in the second, highlighted by Bowman’s RBI double, TMP chased Sell in the third and turned the game into a rout.
Thomas More Prep-Marian 9,
Great Bend 7
The Monarchs rallied with four runs in the fifth to tie the game, added two more in the sixth and held on for the win.
TMP clean-up hitter Taylor Pfeifer singled in the tying run in the bottom of the sixth inning and the Monarchs also scored the go-ahead run on the play when Panthers center fielder Sell overthrew third base, with Hammeke scoring.
Colby Schippers and Shane Zimmerman followed with back-to-back RBI singles to give the Monarchs a 9-6 lead in coming back for the opening-game win.
After TMP knotted the score at 5, the Panthers took the lead right back at 6-5 in the top of the sixth. Sell drew a leadoff walk in the top of the sixth and promptly stole second. As he was attempting to steal third, catcher Pfeifer’s throw at the bag sailed down the line, enabling Sell to score the go-ahead run.
Panthers starting right-hander Braden Jones allowed one run on four hits, pitching into the fifth and leaving in favor of Marshall after he issued a leadoff walk to Dylan Schumacher.
The momentum seemed to finally shift after GBHS built its early five-run lead. Zimmerman helped squelch the Panthers’ early success by striking out seven from the third inning on.
After retiring Hammeke on an pop fly in foul territory, Pierre Schippers followed with a single, advancing Schumacher to second, but Marshall got Pfeifer on a pop fly at the edge of the infield for the second out.
After Colby Schippers walked to load the bases, Marshall allowed a two-run single up the middle to Zimmerman, slashing the gap to 5-3.
Dylan Gottschalk then followed with another two-run single, capping a four-run surge with a base hit up the middle to knot the score at 5.
It was all Great Bend through the first 4 ½ innings. The Panthers scored all five of their runs during the second, topped off by Bowman’s three-run double. Wyatt Bayless also had a run-scoring single during the surge.
But the Monarchs finally made their move in the fifth to get back into contention.

GAME NOTES — Great Bend catcher Eric Ruiz was held out of the doubleheader with TMP after he sustained a slight concussion during the twinbill split with Dodge City on Tuesday night. ... Bryce Beck caught both games for the Panthers.


At Hays


Thomas More Prep-Marian 9,
Great Bend 7
         123   456  7          R     H    E
GB    050   001  0  —     7     6    4
TM    010   044  x  —     9    11   2
     Pierre Schippers, Shane Zimmerman (3) & Taylor Pfeifer; Braden Jones, Matt Marshall (5), Jace Bowman (6) & Bryce Beck. W — Zimmerman. L — Marshall. 2B — Great Bend: Bowman; TMP: Dylan Gottschalk, Zimmerman.

TMP-Marian 14, Great Bend 5
         123  456  7          R     H    E
GB    320  000  0  —     5     7    1
TM    504  050  x  —    14   16   1
     Connor Sell, Bryce Hofmeister (3) & Bryce Beck; Nick Hammeke & Taylor Pfeifer. W — Hammeke. L — Sell. 2B — Great Bend: Sell, Jace Bowman, Mitch Kottas; TMP: Dylan Gottschalk. 3B — TMP: Jacob Fouts, Hammeke.