A high-powered offense carried the Great Bend High School baseball team to a 13-8 win over Junction City in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday at the City of Great Bend Sport Complex.
However, that offense was nowhere to be found in the second game as the Panthers fell 7-0 in Game 2.
“Our approach at the plate was obviously good in the first game,” GBHS head coach Randy Beck said. “We were scoring a lot of runs. We were seeing the ball well, and of course, we had a few infield hits.
“(Junction City) had a few errors that helped, but we did put the bat on the ball and got some good hacks.”
Catcher Eric Ruiz led the Panthers offensively in the first game, driving in two runs in the first inning that saw Great Bend score five runs to lead 5-3.
The Blue Jays tied the game at 5 in the top of the second with a home run from Nick Heath off Panthers pitcher Matt Marshall, who recorded the win.
“That was his first start,” Beck said. “He struggled a little bit early on, but it was his first outing. He settled in pretty nice. He finally got two pitches that he could throw in the zone. If you’re a high school pitcher and you’ve got two pitches you can throw in the zone, you can win a lot of games if you have some offense backing you up.”
Great Bend responded by scoring three runs in the bottom of the inning to lead 8-5.
Junction City, which left 11 runners on base, closed the gap to 8-7 in the top of the fifth, but again, the Panthers responded.
Ruiz drove a three-run home run on his way to going 3-for-4 with six RBIs in the game.
“It was fairly tight before that,” Beck said. “That swing of the bat really switched the momentum. It was a tight game all the way through to the top of the fourth. We got runners on and it went over the fence. That really propelled us offensively. We got a lot of confidence from that hit.”
Both teams closed the scoring with single runs.
Braden Jones went 2-for-2 with three RBIs.
Junction City 7,
Great Bend 0
The Panthers couldn’t find its offense against Junction City left-hander Tyler LeClear, who pitched a one-hitter.
“I don’t know what went on the second game,” Beck said. “I don’t know if we relaxed a little bit too much or our approach at the plate. That kid threw a pretty good game. He threw a lot of strikes which got us behind in a lot of counts early on. We weren’t getting the good hacks like we were the first game. That played a large part in how we played offensively.”
Great Bend’s only hit came from Jace Bowman, who hit a single to break up LeClear’s no-hit bd.
Jones got the start for Great Bend, pitching a complete game for his first loss this season.
“Jones pitched the complete game, and he did well,” Beck said. “Braden pitched a nice game. We just didn’t back him up with the sticks.”
The Blue Jays scored runs in each of the first three innings to lead 5-0. They capped the win by scoring one run each in the sixth and seventh innings.
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
At Great Bend
City of Great Bend Complex
Great Bend 13, Junction City 8
123 465 7 R H E
JC 320 200 1 — 8 10 2
GB 530 401 x — 13 13 3
Tyler Cox, Will Ervin & James Denton; Matt Marshall, Jace Bowman, Mitch Kottas & Eric Ruiz. W — Marshall (1-0). L — Ervin. 2B — Junction City: Jay Ruiz, Tyler LeClear. HR — Junction City: Nick Heath; Great Bend: Eric Ruiz.
Junction City 7, Great Bend 0
123 465 7 R H E
JC 212 001 1 — 7 8 1
GB 000 000 0 — 0 1 3
Tyler LeClear & James Denton; Braden Jones & Eric Ruiz. W — LeClear. L — Jones (1-1). 2B — Junction City: Nick Heath.