LARNED — Larned baseball coach Chad Erway knew all too well that pitching to Great Bend’s Brady Michel with runners on base was a dangerous proposition.
Sure enough, WAC Player of the Year Michel made Larned pay with a grand slam homer and two-double that sparked an opening 15-4 victory Thursday. Teammate Jared Maneth followed Michel’s example with four hits and six RBIs in a 19-3 victory in the nightcap.
Great Bend (16-4) will be seeded at least third when the eight-team Class 5A regionals are paired Saturday. The top two seeds earn home regionals. Larned (15-3) is top-seeded at its home Class 3A regional Monday and Tuesday.
GREAT BEND 15, LARNED 4
When Larned loaded the bases in the first and second innings and scored one run, the ballgame was essentially over. The Indians had missed their chance to make it a ballgame despite four walks and four hit batters. Panther pitcher Brett Basye benefited when shortstop Bryce Lytle made a clutch catch on Gage Skelton’s liner. Basye retired Alex Barger to work out of trouble. Basye retired Perez with the bases-loaded and two out in the second inning.
Michel drilled a two-run double that scored Jaxx Hillman and Konnor Ireland in a three-run second inning. Ireland’s single scored Logan Perry.
Michel’s grand slam off pitcher Jon Herter keyed a nine-run third inning. Ireland and Brayden Smith drove in runs and Payton Mauler drilled a pair of sacrifice flies. Mauler had three hits.
Larned’s Perez drove in Mason Schartz in the first inning. Gage Skelton’s single drove home Perez and Herter in the fifth inning.
GREAT BEND 19, LARNED 3
Maneth made quick work of Larned with four hits and six runs batted in.
The Panthers scored seven runs in the third inning and eight runs in the fourth inning.
Michel added two hits and two RBIs.
Anson Hall drove in three runs and Mauler and Jacob Murray each drove in two runs.
Larned’s Landon Erway drove in two runs and Perez added the Indians’ third RBI.