NICKERSON — About the last thing Great Bend High School head baseball coach Randy Beck wanted was to do was pitch Bryce Beck on back-to-back days, the second coming in a relief role.
Beck was chased by Hays High in a 16-0 setback on Thursday night.
But the younger Beck made his dad/coach look like a genius by inducing a double-play ball to work out of a bases-loaded jam against Nickerson High on Friday night. Beck’s relief work preserved a 10-5 lead and Great Bend rolled to a rain-shortened 15-5 victory. The second game was rained out.
Nickerson had sliced a 10-2 lead to 10-5 with the bases loaded, when Beck faced Bryon Young. Young hit a ground ball to shortstop Shade Wondra, who flipped to second baseman Daniel Herrman, who completed the double play.
“We were struggling to get out of that inning, but Bryce is one of our better guys,” Randy Beck said. “Our defense did a great job getting us out of that inning.”
Great Bend (8-1) closed the game with five more runs for the 10-run win. Nickerson drops to 7-6 after sweeping Hoisington in a doubleheader Thursday. The field was officially renamed “Rich Krol Field,” Friday night after longtime Nickerson baseball coach Rich Krol.
Left fielder Dillon Reiser made the game’s best defensive play by throwing out Mader on a one-hop throw to catcher Eric Ruiz off a base hit by Conner Gomes. The play preserved a 2-0 Great Bend lead.
“That was a smart, aggressive play to come up throwing by Dillon,” Randy Beck said. “Our catcher did a nice job handling a one-hop throw. That was a big play at the time.”
The cloudy day started with a light mist and finished in a driving rainstorm. The game was delayed for a few minutes when heavier rain fell and eventually was stopped in the seventh inning.
“We kept a dialogue going and talked it out a couple of times with the umpires and coaches,” Beck said. “They were wanting to make sure the playing conditions were OK.”
Friday’s second game likely won’t be rescheduled unless field conditions are playable Saturday. Great Bend starts a busy six-game schedule Tuesday at home against Dodge City.
Starter Braden Jones (1-0) worked into the fifth inning, when coach Beck went to the bullpen after Jacob Mader was hit by a pitch. Jones worked ahead in the count with an effective fastball and mixed in a curveball and changeup. It was his first pitching performance after recovering from arm issues.
“Braden had a solid first outing and showed he is someone we will be able to rely on,” Beck said. “He was able to get into a zone for the most part.”
Great Bend showed good discipline at the plate with 12 walks. Eight runners scored on wild pitches and a ninth run scored on an error. Herrman scored five times and Great Bend’s bottom third of the lineup scored 11 runs.
Great Bend delivered six RBI with five hits. Dakota Conaway doubled and delivered a pair of sacrifice flies. Herrman, Wondra, Beck and Chad Touslee also drove in runs. Great Bend scored five runs in the fourth, three in the fifth and four in the sixth.
“We are a team that will take what the defense gives us on the bases,” said Beck, who said his team swing the bat at good pitches rather than get anxious. “It was a tough day to play and we moved up on the bases. We were definitely pleased we made most of our routine plays.
“We were able to get in hitter’s counts and hit some balls in the strike zone."
Nickerson scored two runs in the fourth off Jones and three times in the fifth off reliever Bryce Hoffmeister. Ryan O’Toole’s two-run single closed the gap to 10-5.
Beck said his team did a good job coming back on back-to-back days.
“The biggest part about back-to-back is getting refocused and getting locked back into game situations,” he said. “Everyone got ready to go.”
Great Bend entertains Dodge City in Western Athletic Conference action on Tuesday at the Great Bend Sports Complex, starting at 4.
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
Great Bend 15, Nickerson 5
123 456 7 R H E
GBHS 110 534 1 — 15 5 2
NHS 000 230 x — 5 3 3
Braden Jones, Hoffmeister (5), Bryce Beck (5) & Eric Ruiz. Connor Gomes , Sam Berridge (5), Jake Stiverson (5) & Sam Berridge, Bryon Young (5). W — Jones (1-0). L —Gomes. 2B — Great Bend (Dakota Conaway, Dillon Reiser).