GARDEN CITY— Great Bend used a three-inning drive in the middle of Tuesday’s first game of a WAC doubleheader and held off a Buffalo rally in the final frame to beat Garden City, 7-4. Despite some defensive miscues in the second contest, the Panthers rounded up all 11 of their runs during another three-inning span and defeated Garden City in an 11-8 final.
“We finally put together some big innings today at the plate,” said coach Randy Beck. “All of our hitters went up there and competed and were rewarded for it.”
“We were finally able to get some key hits with runners in scoring position, which has been a struggle for us in the previous games. The biggest thing for us today was that we got our confidence back,” he said.
In the first contest, Brett Basye (1-0) picked up the win coming on in relief for starter Bryce Lytle in the third. Basye pitched three and two thirds innings allowing only a run and a hit. He was also credited with a strikeout.
Matt Zecha batted a thousand in Tuesday’s first round hitting four for four with a pair of RBI.
Great Bend struck first in their third at-bat as Jacob Murray scored off a single by Jaxx Hillman. Lytle followed suite in the same inning on an RBI ground out by Anson Hall to put the visiting Panthers up 2-0.
The Buffs grabbed the go ahead in the bottom frame with three runs.
Zecha tied the game in the Great Bend fourth off an infield error before the Panthers saddled four more runs in the top of the fifth. Shade Wondra scored off a single by Brady Michel followed by a wild pitch that brought Payton Mauler across the plate. Zecha then posted the second of his two RBI which scored Brady Michel. Jared Maneth scored on the same play but by an errant throw from the outfield.
Garden City was held to a run in the last half of the seventh upsetting the rally as the Panthers claimed the 7-4 final.
Great Bend coughed up eight errors in game two and was edged in the hitting department by an 11-10 margin.
The Buffs had the first say in the bottom of the second with a four-run attack and added a run in the third to take a 5-0 lead.
The Panthers responded in the fourth as Zecha reached as a hit batsman with bases loaded and scored Anson Hall. Murray then came across off a bases loaded walk by Payton Mauler that pulled the visitors to within three, trailing 5-2.
Garden City spread the gap, 6-2 following another one-run outing in their half of the fourth before Great Bend recorded a nine-run attack over the fifth and sixth.
Perry scored off a double by Wondra in the top of the fifth. Wondra then crossed on a throwing error and narrowed the margin to a pair runs. Maneth then singled in Hall before Lytle’s two-run double brought through Murray and Zecha. Jack Westhoff then scored off a wild pitch to give the Panthers an 8-6 go ahead heading to a scoreless bottom half of the inning.
Great Bend showed no signs of letting up in the top of the sixth as Hall took advantage of an outfield throwing error and scored giving the Panthers a 9-6 lead. Westhoff then reached on a bases loaded walk that scored Michel. Murray then scored off a single by Mauler giving Great Bend an 11-6 advantage.
The Buffs attempted another rally in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run attack and were shutout out in the seventh as the Panthers walked away with the 11-8 victory.
Logan Perry (1-0) came on in relief for the win following two innings from starter Anson Hall. Perry yielded four runs off of five hits and struck out one for the victory after three innings. Wondra recorded a save after working the final two frames.
Beck attributed much of the Panthers’ success to the bullpen.
“I was excited to see our relievers come in and succeed on the mound,” the coach said. “It was crucial to our success. Brett entered the first game in a tough situation...runners on second and third with one out and he got us out of the inning without giving up a run. I think that was a momentum changer for us.”
“I was pleased with how our kids kept their composure after being down four runs to make a comeback in the middle innings of our second game,” said Beck. “Logan did a great job in relief keeping us in the game and Shade finished things up on the mound.”
Great Bend evens their season mark to 3-3 including a 2-2 record in the WAC after the sweep.
The Panthers will host Thomas More Prep (Hays) and Scott City on April 21 in Great Bend’s home opener. First pitch of the twin bill is scheduled for 2 pm at the GB Sports Complex. Great Bend will then return to WAC competition on April 28 as the Panthers entertain Hays.