HAYS — Salina Central scored seven runs in the first two innings and coasted to an 11-4 victory over Great Bend on Saturday afternoon at Hays High School.
It was the final game for the Panthers, 12-3 overall, in the Hays Diamond Classic, where the Mustangs, who compiled 12 hits, rode four runs in the first and three in the second.
"They hit the ball better than we did today," Great Bend head coach Randy Beck said, "and that was the difference."
GBHS totaled six hits — none for extra bases — including two apiece from Bryce Beck, Chad Touslee and Johnny Allende. Beck scored two runs, and Touslee and Allende each drove in a pair.
Allende was the losing pitcher for the Panthers. He was relieved in the second by Bryce Hofmeister before Beck came on during the fifth.
The Panthers are focusing on a pair of doubleheaders this week before Class 5A regional play starts a week from Tuesday. Great Bend, which is 5-1 and in first place in the Western Athletic Conference standings, needs to sweep Garden City at Garden City in a doubleheader on Tuesday to clinch the conference championship outright. The first pitch of the opener is at 4 p.m.
"Without a doubt, they're a good team and a scrappy team," Randy Beck said of the Buffaloes. "We're going to have to be playing our best ball when we roll into Garden City."
Hays is in second place in the WAC at 4-2.
Great Bend closes its regular season on Thursday, entertaining Larned in a non-conference doubleheader at the Great Bend Sports Complex. The first game starts at 4 p.m
"Larned has a good team, too," he said. "We can't overlook them, either."
The Panthers are currently ranked No. 2 in seedings for Class 5A regional play behind top-seeded Maize South. Hays is currently the third seed.
"We feel like that we have to win out from here," Randy Beck said.
— Mack McClure
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
2013 Hays Diamond Classic
Salina Central 11, Great Bend 4
123 456 7 R H E
GB 102 000 1 — 4 6 2
SC 430 013 x — 11 12 1
Johnny Allende, Bryce Hofmeister (2), Bryce Beck (5) & Jack Westhoff; Vaughn & Brightbill. W — Vaughn. L — Allende. 2B — Central (Early, Cummerford).
• CRUNCHIN' THE NUMBERS
Great Bend — Bryce Beck 2-for-3, 2 runs, BB; Chad Touslee 2-4, 2 RBI, run; Allende 2-4, 2 RBI; Salina Central — Casey 2-5, 2 RBI, 2 runs; Vaughn 2-4, 2 RBI, BB, 3 runs; Hammiston 3-5, 2 runs.