It wasn’t Connor Sell’s best stuff, and it wasn’t a seven- nor a five-inning no-hitter on Thursday evening at Al Burns Stadium.
Yet, a three-inning no-hitter for Sell, a junior left-hander, surfaced during Great Bend High School’s 15-0 whitewash of Larned in the second game of a season-opening, non-conference doubleheader sweep.
GBHS junior right-hander Matt Marshall allowed only two hits in a four-inning 17-2 Great Bend romp in the opener.
The Panthers totaled 12 hits in the first game and six hits in the nightcap, where Logan Buehler led off the bottom half of the first inning with an inside-the-park home run.
“It was a good start to the season,” said Great Bend head coach Randy Beck, whose 2-0 team will travel to Junction City for a non-conference doubleheader on Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. “We really competed well at the plate, ran the bases extremely well and were aggressive and made good decisions.
“We struggled somewhat on the mound, not necessarily giving up a lot of hits, but just being consistent in the zone, which is something we’re going to take care of in the bullpen over the next couple days.”
Sell faced 11 batters, walking two in his abbreviated no-hitter.
“There was a lot more that could have been done,” Sell said. “It wasn’t the best performance, but it will do.
“I trust my teammates in that if I get the ball over the plate, they will make the plays.”
Buehler also added a two-run double in the second inning of game two. Darien Blackwill had a pair of triples, along with a two-run single in the fourth to put the run-rule into effect.
“I was just trying to hit a ball hard,” Buehler said. “Coach wants us to put the ball where we can do something with it and the ball just happened to roll to the right place (in the gap during his inside-the-park homer).
There were also a plethora of Larned walks, wild pitches and passed balls that contributed to its demise.
“Baserunners are baserunners and you do what you can to get on base,” Buehler said. “If you get baserunners, you get runs and that’s how you win ballgames.”
That gave plenty of support for Sell against the youthful Indians, featuring seven freshmen, who had control problems in both games. Five Panthers batters were hit by pitches and there were several other near-misses.
No worries, at least for GBHS.
“Any time that we can get a free base, we’ll take it,” Beck said. “I don’t think anything was purposely thrown at us.
Jace Bowman, who was hit by a pitch twice in the first game and once more in the second, had a sacrifice fly in the third for a run batted in, along with an RBI single in the fourth of the opener. He came on in relief of Marshall in the late going.
Cole Smith had an RBI single and also had an RBI double in the fourth for the Panthers, who had three two-base hits in the inning. Blackwill, who was 2-for-4 in the first game, and Buehler added the other doubles.
Mitch Kottas drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and another on a triple. Marshall also tripled in a run in the second.
Marshall’s error on a grounder in the first of the opener enabled Larned to seize a 1-0 lead on the unearned run.
But the avalanche of Panthers runs came shortly thereafter.
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
At Al Burns Stadium
Great Bend 17, Larned 2 (4)
123 4 R H E
Larned 101 0 2 2 3
Great Bend 171 8 17 12 1
Jamil Shoemaker, Steven Browning & Easton Palmer; Matt Marshall, Jace Bowman (4) & Landon Leuenberger. W — Marshall (1-0). L — Shoemaker (0-1). 2B — Great Bend (Darian Blackwill, Cole Smith, Logan Buehler). 3B — Great Bend (Mitch Kottas, Marshall).
Great Bend 15, Larned 0 (3)
123 R H E
Larned 000 0 0 1
Great Bend 672 15 6 1
Jordan Welch & Easton Lamer; Connor Sell & Landon Leuenberger. W — Sell (1-0). L — Welch (0-1). 3B — Great Bend (Darian Blackwill 2, Mitch Kottas). HR — Great Bend (Logan Buehler).