HAYS — In their second game of the Hays Diamond Classic, the Great Bend High School Panthers found themselves struggling to find their hitting stroke.
Goddard left-hander Colin Nevil silenced Great Bend on a two-hit shutout, blanking the Panthers 6-0 on Friday in a noon-time baseball tournament game.
It was only the Panthers' second loss in 13 games this season.
"I thought we could have competed a little bit better at the plate against him," Great Bend head coach Randy Beck said of Nevil. "He's a good pitcher, but those are the type of pitchers that we're going to have to beat in the postseason in order to advance.
"I think it's more of a mental thing than anything. We came into this tournament with a lot of confidence, and I think our guys got sent back to reality a little bit with this kid. We're going to regroup."
Great Bend walked past Hays 9-4 on Thursday evening in a game where, against three pitchers, they drew eight walks and five other batters were hit by pitches.
But the Panthers saw just the opposite in Nevil, who had displayed an unorthodox throwing motion in going the distance, striking out six and walking three, including a pair in the seventh inning.
"We want to see good pitching right now," Beck said. "I felt like we did not get enough baserunners on. We find ways to get on. We get hits … we drag bunt.
"There's just a lot of ways that you can get on base, and we didn't find those ways in this game."
Goddard touched Panthers right-hander Johnny Allende, who had no offensive help, for a pair of runs in the first. Trey Douglas led off the game with a walk and scored the Lions' first run on Conner Kirby's RBI double. Kirby later scored on an Allende errant pickoff move for their second run.
The Lions, who beat the Panthers a year ago in a Class 5A regional championship game, their lead to 3-0 in the third after Douglas singled, stole second and scored when Nevil reached on an error.
Panthers catcher Eric Ruiz broke up Nevil's no-hitter with a single in the third. They never had their second baserunner until the fifth after Danny Herrman walked with one out, but Ruiz popped up and Bryce Hofmeister grounded out to end the inning.
Goddard added a trio of insurance runs in the fifth, increasing their lead to 6-0. Nevil hit a run-scoring single and Cordel Gallagher added a two-out, two-run double down the left-field line.
Great Bend finally got its second hit and third baserunner in the sixth on Bryce Beck's one-out single up the middle. But Brady Buehler struck out and Dakota Conaway grounded out to end the inning.
Down to their final three outs, the Panthers planted runners on first and second with nobody out, when Chad Touslee reached first base after Goddard catcher Hayden Hudson dropped a third strike and Braden Jones followed with a walk.
But Herrman hit a soft fly to first base, with Jones getting caught off the bag and tagged out for a double play.
After Ruiz drew a walk, Hofmeister took a called third strike to end the game.
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
2013 Hays Diamond Classic
Goddard 6, Great Bend 0
123 456 7 R H E
GHS 201 030 0 — 6 7 1
GBHS 000 000 0 — 0 2 2
Colin Nevil & Hayden Hudson; Johnny Allende & Eric Ruiz. W — Nevil. L — Allende. 2B — Goddard (Conner Kirby, Sean Marou, Hayden Hudson).