BY JIM MISUNAS
Great Bend Chief Townshend Kurth limped over to home plate, much like L.A. Dodger World Series hero Kurt Gibson did 30 years ago.
Kurth delivered a groundball down the third-base line that was misplayed, he somehow hustled his way to first base.
When third baseman Carson Cornelius threw the ball down the line, Alex Schremmer and Jesus Bujanda scored the tying and go-ahead runs in a 3-2 victory Tuesday at the Great Bend Sports Complex.
“I wanted to put the ball on the ground because I couldn’t plant my right leg and lift the baseball,” said Kurth, who was sidelined after he fouled a baseball off his shin. “We never give up. I’m not sure how I got to first base. My adrenaline kicked in.”
The Chiefs completed the sweep with a 6-4 victory over a veteran Nickerson team that qualified for AAA Legion state last year at Ottawa. The Chiefs (4-2) play Ellinwood Thursday at home.
“We stole that one,” said Travis Kurth, Great Bend Chiefs coach. “That was a great win.”
CHIEFS 3, NICKERSON 2 (G1)
Great Bend reliever Brice Kaiser threw two pitches, retiring Josh Salazar on a game-ending double play by second baseman Riley Smith that caught Kade Evert off first base.
Nickerson, helped by a trio of Pratt players, performed flawlessly defensively for five innings for a 2-0 lead. Shortstop Tanner Schrag, 1B Noah Salazar, RF Evert and LF Kaleb Jackson made dazzling defensive plays.
But it all unraveled in the sixth inning after centerfielder Noah Salazar dropped a routine fly ball, then compounded that mistake by bypassing an easy force out 20 feet away at second base.
Calan Haberman scored on Eduardo Bujanda’s sacrifice fly off hard-luck loser Grant Bolen. Crafty lefthander Johnny Huggard induced Kurth to hit a grounder, but both runs scored on the error.
Nickerson cost itself with poor baserunning. Tanner Schrag tripled to lead off the game, but was thrown out by third baseman Joey Soupiset. The slow-footed Brendan McBeth cost Nickerson another run when Kaleb Jackson’s run was nullified when was thrown out at third base by shortstop Alex Schremmer.
Cornelius singled home Evert in the first inning and he singled home Josh Salazar in the third inning.
CHIEFS 6, NICKERSON 4 (G2)
Great Bend scored six runs in the first three innings and Brice Kaiser earned his second save of the night by striking out the final two batters.
Nickerson led 2-0 off Chiefs’ starter Joey Soupiset. Josh Salazar and Cornelius delivered back-to-back RBI singles in the first inning.
The Chiefs scored four runs with two out. Riley Smith hit a two-run single after RBI hits by Brice Kaiser and Soupiset for a 4-2 lead. Schremmer scored on a second-inning error. Cal Kaiser’s single scored Brice Kaiser for a 6-2 lead after three innings.
Nickerson’s Bolen singled home Chandler Eaton and Noah Salazar off Soupiset. But Brice Kaiser struck out Tanner Schrag and Evert to end the ballgame.
Nickerson 100 000 0 – 2 8 2
GB Chiefs 000 003 x – 3 5 1
Bolen, Huggard (6) and Eaton. Hall, Schremmer (4), Brice Kaiser (7) and Eduardo Bujanda. W—Schremmer. L—Bolen. Sv—B. Kaiser. 2B—GB—Brice Kaiser. 3B—N—Tanner Schrag, Josh Salazar.
Nickerson 200 000 2 – 4 9 1
GB Chiefs 411 000 x – 6 9 2
Garcia, Cornelius (4), Huggard (5) and Eaton. Soupiset, B. Kaiser (7) and Hall. W—Soupiset. L—Garcia. Sv—B. Kaiser. 2B—GB—Schremmer.