BY JIM MISUNAS
The Great Bend American Legion Braves will receive a Legion Riders escort out-of-town to Fargo. N.D. from the American Legion Post at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Legion riders will be stationed at 10th and Main at 8:30 a.m. starting from the Great Bend American Legion Argonne Post 180 at 1011 Kansas. The Braves will travel along I-29 for most of the 735-mile, 11-hour journey to Fargo.
The Class A runner-up Braves (31-15) qualified for the Class A Mid States Regional Thursday through Saturday at Fargo.
The Class A runner-up Braves (31-15) are guaranteed three games at the Class A Mid States Baseball Regional Thursday through Saturday at Fargo.
“It’s a privilege to do this,” said Great Bend Braves coach Travis Kurth. “We realize we’ve got a lot of people supporting us with their kind words and money. It’s a joy to continue to play baseball. I’m happy to spend another week with these fine young men.”
The pitching staff features Jesus Bujanda, Eduardo Bujanda, Colin Hall, Townshend Kurth and Joey Soupiset.
“We feature five really solid pitchers,” Kurth said. “When they throw strikes, our defense tends to play well. Minimizing walks is a key. They’ve thrown bullpen sessions to stay sharp.”
Leadoff batters Haberman and Kurth have set the table in post-season play. Eduardo Bujanda drove in 13 runs in one post-season stretch.
“We’ve had guys step up and play great baseball when they’ve had an opportunity,” Kurth said.
The Braves’ remarkable journey was started by a late-game Zone rally from a 16-8 deficit against Pratt. Batter-after-batter delivered for the Braves. The A State Tournament featured a five-game winning streak against the Salina Hawks 17-4, Olathe Royals 5-0, Andover Trojans 6-3, Andover Jaguars 9-1 and Emporia 3-2.
“We’ll be competitive because we’re a good baseball team,” Kurth said. “The comeback against Pratt proved they don’t panic and they keep playing winning baseball. We’ve kept that momentum ever since Calan Haberman hit a three-run homer against the Salina Hawks. Something clicked after that moment. We didn’t look back after Haberman’s home run.”
They’ll be riding a 10-day layoff.
“It felt good to enjoy the week off and recharge a little bit,” Kurth said. “Our guys know when to turn it on. They’ll be ready Thursday.”
A week-long fundraising campaign helped pay for the cost of renting two vans. Players solicited donations and the team conducted a successful car wash.
“The fundraising went very well,” Kurth said. “When you see that support, it makes you feel good. I know these young men will represent the city of Great Bend.”
LEGION A MID STATES REGIONAL
RED POOL—Edina, Minn. 32-7; Jefferson City, Mo. 26-8; Moorhead, Minn.
BLACK POOL—Great Bend Braves 31-15; Sioux Falls East, S.D. 49-12; Fargo, N.D. 22-19
Game 1—10 a.m.—Fargo vs. Moorhead
Game 2—12:30 p.m.—Fargo vs. Sioux Falls
Game 3—3 p.m.—Edina, Minn vs. Sioux Falls
Game 4—5:30 p.m.—Edina vs. Moorhead
Game 5—8:30 p.m.—Great Bend Braves vs. Jefferson City
Game 6—10 a.m.—Moorhead vs. Jefferson City
Game 7—12:30 p.m.—Edina vs. Jefferson City
Game 8—3 p.m.—Great Bend vs. Sioux Falls
Game 9—5:30 p.m.—Great Bend vs. Fargo
Game 10—9 a.m.—No. 1 Black vs. No. 2 Red
Game 11—11:30 a.m.—No. 1 Red vs. No. 2 Black
Game 12—2 p.m.—Championship game
GREAT BEND BRAVES
1—Joey Soupiset P/3B/OF
3—Cal Kaiser 2B/OF
8—Calan Haberman P-CF
9—Riley Smith P/C/2B
10—Christian Zahnter P/SS/OF
13—Colin Hall P/C/SS/3B
14—Nahum Olivas P/2B/OF
24—Eduardo Bujanda P/C/1B/SS
28—Jayce Christiansen P/LF
35—Jesus Bujanda P/C/1B/3B
33—Townshend Kurth P/SS
42—Dalton Barfield 1B/OF/DH
Coaches—Travis Kurth, Darrin Hall
2017 GREAT BEND BRAVES (31-15)
WW—Russell 13-3, 14-3
LW—Chanute 2-8; Kansas Senators 10-2
LW—Emporia 1-2; Mound City 10-9
WW—Hays 11-9, 10-8
WW—Cunningham 17-0, 36-2
WW—Dodge City 5-4, 8-2
WL—Pratt 13-8, 5-13
WWWWL—Braves Classic (Russell 10-2, Salina Hawks 9-1, Hutchinson 8-2, Russell 11-4, Salina Hawks 5-16)
LL—Hays 7-9, 14-15
WW—Kinsley 14-0, 12-2
LLLL—Chiefs Classic (Colts 0-4, Russell 8-11, Pratt 9-10, Larned 5-7)
WW—Dodge City 14-4, 9-6
WL—Kinsley 10-4, 15-16
WLW—Pratt Tournament (Dodge City 27-4, Hoisington 2-6, Pratt 7-2)
A Zone (W Cunningham 36-0; W Pratt 17-16; W McPherson 11-9; L McPherson 7-10; W McPherson 12-3)
A State (L Olathe Royals 1-11; W Salina Hawks 17-4; W Olathe Royals 5-0; W Andover Trojans 6-3; W Andover Jaguars 9-1; W Emporia 3-2; L Emporia 3-11)
A Regional (Jefferson City, Mo.; Sioux Falls, S.D., Fargo N.D.)