LIBERAL — Stranding six runners through the first four innings, Great Bend High School wasted several early scoring opportunities.
It was nothing a four-run uprising in the fifth inning and another five runs in the seventh couldn’t overcome, which occurred during the first game of a Western Athletic Conference baseball doubleheader against Liberal on Friday afternoon.
The Panthers’ clutch hitting fueled a 10-1 victory, and then they completed the sweep of the Redskins with an 18-2 romp in the nightcap. The run-rule went into effect after five innings.
Dakota Conaway, a senior first baseman, finished 5-for-8 with seven runs batted in during the doubleheader to lead the Panthers’ 31-hit attack.
“He really had a big day,” Great Bend head coach Randy Beck said of Conaway. “He was really focused at the plate.
“We had trouble scoring runs early and then we started getting things going.”
Panthers 10, Liberal 1
Shade Wondra’s RBI single to left field drove in Bryce Hofmeister for a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Hofmeister was hit by a pitch and moved into scoring position by stealing second base.
After Liberal tied the game in the bottom of the fourth off winning pitcher Bryce Beck (2-0) on Lorenzo Pando’s run-scoring triple, the Panthers cut loose in the fifth.
Great Bend’s Mitch Johnson singled to lead off the fifth. Danny Herrman reached on an error and then Conaway followed with a two-run triple to make it 3-1.
Chad Touslee later singled in Conaway, and Dillon Reiser followed with another base hit. Hofmeister singled home Touslee to make it 5-1.
Touslee led off the seventh with a base hit and after Liberal botched Reiser’s sacrifice, the runners advanced. Eric Ruiz then followed with a two-run single.
Hofmeister reached on an error, Wondra walked and Johnson hit an RBI groundout before Beck delivered at two-run single.
Beck scattered five hits in pitching a complete game.
Touslee finished 3 for 4. Conaway and Johnson were both 2 for 4.
Great Bend 18, Liberal 2 (5)
Conaway tripled home Beck during the Panthers’ two-run first and then they obliterated the Redskins with 11 runs in the second after sending 16 batters to the plate.
Conaway drove in four runs during the second, hitting a pair of two-run doubles.
Beck had an RBI double, and Johnny Allende unloaded a two-run triple for the Panthers’ other extra-base hit.
Right-hander Tristan Hall (2-0) whistled through five innings of work in capturing the win.
Conaway and Beck both finished 3-for-4 to lead GBHS. Hall was 2 for 5, and Braden Jones was 2 for 4.
GBHS returns to action on Tuesday, entertaining single games with Nickerson and Scott City at the Great Bend Sports Complex, starting at 3 p.m.
— Mack McClure
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
Western Athletic Conference
Great Bend 10, Liberal 1
123 456 7 R H E
GBHS 000 140 5 — 10 12 2
LHS 000 100 0 — 1 5 2
Bryce Beck & Eric Ruiz; Jared Hasik & Law Greiner. W — Beck (2-0). L — Hasik. 2B — (Liberal) Christian Hernandez. 3B — GBHS (Dakota Conaway); Liberal (Lorenzo Pando).
Great Bend 18, Liberal 2 (5)
123 45 R H E
GBHS 2(11)0 14 — 18 19 1
LHS 100 01 — 2 3 3
Tristan Hall & Eric Ruiz; Christian Hernandez, & Lorenzo Pando. W — Hall (2-0). L — Hernandez. 2B — Great Bend (Bryce Beck, Dakota Conaway 2); Liberal (Jared Hasak, Hernandez). 3B — Great Bend (Conaway, Johnny Allende).