BY JIM MISUNAS
OTTAWA – Payton Mauler cemented his reputation as Great Bend’s wood-bat magician with a home run that sparked a 2-0 upset over Chanute in Wednesday’s Class AAA American Legion State Baseball Tournament. Chanute was last year’s AAA state runner-up.
Mauler’s wood bat launched a second-inning pitch from Chanute pitcher Hunter Frederich over the left-field fence.
“I love swinging my wood bat,” Mauler said. “I was trying to make a smooth swing. I hit it high and far.”
Mauler also delivered the game-tying single that qualified the Chiefs for the AAA state tournament with a 9-8 walk-off victory over McPherson.
Cal Kaiser singled home Cory Burnham with a valuable fifth-inning insurance run. The Chiefs missed a potential big inning when Mauler and Brice Kaiser were thrown out at third base.
The Chiefs tied a rare record by stranding zero baserunners in a victory. The Chiefs had two runners thrown out on double plays and two others thrown out at third base.
Southpaw reliever Brayden Smith worked six shutout innings with striking out three batters. Catcher Jared Maneth delivered the first crucial defensive play by picking off Jarren Lewis after the first two baserunners reached base in the second inning.
“Brayden is as tough as nails,” said Jason Perry, Chiefs coach. “Chanute had not seen a lefty/lefty combination. Brayden closed out the game and kept his pitch-count down.”
Smith turned a fourth-inning double play with shortstop Konner Ireland. Centerfielder Cal Kaiser manufactured the summer’s finest double plays with a perfect throw to second baseman Cory Burnham to double up Jake Haviland after a leadoff sixth-inning double.
Chiefs starter Logan Perry stranded two baserunners by retiring Gavin Dillow on a first-inning fly ball.
Chanute’s Frederich threw brilliantly with 10 strikeouts while yielding two hits.
Great Bend (21-12) plays Nickerson (24-6) in Thursday’s 6 p.m. winners bracket semifinal. Nickerson High School swept Great Bend 4-3 and 13-5 during the high school season in wintry weather at Nickerson. Nickerson won 4-3 on Cory Burnham’s game-ending balk.
Oskaloosa surprised Arkansas City 1-0 and the Hays Eagles upset two-time defending AAA state champion Ottawa 7-4. Hays rallied from a 4-1 deficit with six runs. Trey Riggs delivered a two-run single and Grant Coffman doubled home two runs in a five-run fourth inning. Hays pitcher Trey Riggs benefited from double plays in the sixth and seventh innings,
CHIEFS 2, CHANUTE 0
Chiefs 000 000 0 – 2 2 0
Chanute 000 000 0 – 0 4 0
Logan Perry, Smith (2) and Maneth. Friederich and Addis. W—Smith. 2B—C—Jake Haviland. HR—GB—Mauler.
GREAT BEND CHIEFS (22-12)
LL—Russell 1-11, 3-11
LL—Russell 15-16, 4-8
LL—Wichita East 8-9, 3-13
WW—Larned 14-6, 18-3
WW—Dodge City 13-5, W forfeit
WW—Hutchinson 10-4, 15-8
LLWL—Dodge City (Beloit 5-9, Dodge City 1-2, Pratt 11-3, Hays-TMP 8-12)
WL—Hutchinson 7-3, 7-8
WWWW—Chiefs Classic (Larned 11-0, Pratt 6-4, Hutchinson 6-4, Russell 6-3)
WW—Dodge City 9-0, 7-3
LWW—Pratt Tournament (Pratt 2-10, Garden City 9-0, 15-4)
WW—Dodge City 9-0, 7-3
WW AAA Zone (W Hays Eagles 3-1; W McPherson 9-8)
AAA State, Ottawa (Chanute 2-0; Nickerson 5-4; Hays Eagles)
GREAT BEND CHIEFS ROSTER
6—Max Jerke RP-2B-OF
7—Jared Maneth C-1B-3B-SS
9—Brayden Smith LP-1B-RF
10—Cory Burnham RP-2B-3B-SS
11—Konner Ireland RP-SS-2B
12—Payton Mauler RP-3B-C-OF
13—Logan Perry LP-1B-RF
19—Brice Kaiser RP-1B-OF
21—Chance Perry IF-OF
24—Dalton Bieker RP-2B-SS-OF
27—Koy Brack RP-C-3B-SS-OF
Coaches—Mike Perry, Jason Perry
AMERICAN LEGION AAA STATE
WEDNESDAY, JULY 26
Game 1—Nickerson 14, Leavenworth 6
Game 2—Great Bend 2, Chanute 0
Game 3—Oskaloosa 1, Arkansas City 0
Game 4—Hays Eagles 7, Ottawa 4
THURSDAY, JULY 27
Game 5—Chanute 10, Leavenworth 0
Game 6—Ottawa 5, Arkansas City 0
Game 7—Great Bend Chiefs 5, Nickerson 4
Game 8—Hays Eagles 10, Oskalooa 3
FRIDAY, JULY 28
Game 9—10 a.m.—Chanute 27-9 vs. Oskaloosa 17-13
Game 10—12:30 p.m.—Ottawa 32-9 vs. Nickerson 24-7
Game 11—6 p.m.—Great Bend Chiefs 22-12 v. Hays Eagles 21-13
Game 12—8:30 p.m.—Winners game 9, 10
SATURDAY, JULY 29
Game 13—10 a.m.—Winner game 12 vs. loser game 11
Game 14—12:30 p.m.—Winners games 11, 13
SUNDAY, JULY 30
Game 15—10 a.m.—Winner game 14 vs. loser game 14 (if needed) winner qualifies Mid-South regional Aug. 3-7 New Orleans, La.