HAYS — After a rough start to the Hays High Western Diamond Classic, Great Bend High School’s baseball team steadily improved throughout the tournament.
The Panthers fell 11-3 against Goddard in their first game on Friday, and narrowly missed beating Word of Life, 9-8.
On Saturday, Great Bend found some redemption, beating Salina Central 11-10 in eight innings.
It was the only loss Central, the team that won the classic, suffered in the round robin tournament.
“Anytime you get a win, it’s special,” GBHS head coach Randy Beck said. “South Central won the tournament. We gave them the only loss in the tournament, so they got the championship trophy right after we beat them in extra innings.”
Goddard 11, Great Bend 3
Goddard scored runs in each of the first four innings, leading 5-0 heading into the fifth inning.
Great Bend scored three runs in the fifth, but Goddard scored four runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh to put the game out of reach.
Shade Wondra went five innings, giving up 11 hits and five earned runs. He had one strike out.
Salina-Sacred Heart 9, Great Bend 8
Word of Life got ahead first.
The Fire scored two runs in the second and two more in the third before Great Bend got on the scoreboard.
The Panthers scored two runs in the top of the fourth, making it 4-2, but Word of Life scored four runs in the bottom of the inning.
Great Bend scored two more runs in the top of the fifth, but still trailed 8-4.
Great Bend tied things up in the seventh.
Dillon Reiser led the inning off with a single, followed by a walk for Wondra and a Jared Maneth single.
Tristan Hall drove in the first run with a single.
Jaxx Hillman got hit by a pitch and Jack Westhoff and Brady Michel each drew a walk, each with the bases loaded to bring in three more runs.
Word of Life scored a run in the bottom of the inning, winning the game.
Great Bend 11, Salina Central 10 (8)
Great Bend scored first, plating a run in the top of the first inning.
Central claimed the lead in the bottom of the third, making it 3-1.
The Panthers put up a run in the fifth and exploded for seven runs in the top of the sixth, leading 9-3.
Central answered with seven runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth, leading 10-9 heading into the final inning.
In the seventh, Wondra led off with a walk, getting moved to second by Maneth’s fly to center field and advancing to third on a Westhoff fly to right.
Jaxx Hillman drove in Wondra with a single, tying the game at 10.
The Panthers held on to force extra innings.
Logan Zecha, who was 2-for-4 in the game with and RBI and two runs scored, reached on an error to open the top of the eighth. Bryce Beck followed with single, giving Great Bend runners on first and second.
Reiser had a sacrifice bunt, moving the runners.
Wondra put the ball in play and Zecha scored on a fielder’s choice.
“The big win against Salina Central gave us some confidence,” Randy Beck said. “It’ll help us with the rest of the season, and it’ll help us with practice heading into our doubleheader heading into Larned.”