Great Bend High School starting pitcher Tristan Hall gave the Panthers exactly what they needed in Game 1 of a doubleheader against Dodge City on Tuesday evening.
Hall, who came into the game in the seventh for starting pitcher Bryce Beck, kept the Red Demons scoreless in the top of the seventh to claim the save in a 9-8 Western Athletic Conference win at the Great Bend Sports Complex. Great Bend won the second game 7-3.
“I thought that we made some errors that we don’t usually make, we overcame adversity and we played well enough to come back and win (Game 1),” Great Bend head coach Randy Beck said.
Great Bend improves to 10-1 overall, 5-1 in the WAC. Dodge City drops to 10-7, 5-3.
Trailing 8-7 in the bottom of the sixth of Game 1, Shade Wondra got Great Bend started with a one-out single.
Dakota Conaway hit a hard single, moving Wondra to third base. Wondra hurt his shoulder during the play, sliding head-first into the bag. Hall came in to run for Wondra.
“I think he could’ve come back in,” Randy Beck said of Wondra. “That’s what our trainer said, but we decided to play it cautious.”
Hall scored when Dodge City catcher Gideon Wells overthrew third base. Chad Touslee followed with an RBI double to make it 9-8.
That’s when Hall took the mound, striking out one and walking another before getting the last two outs.
“They’re different style pitchers,” Randy Beck said of Hall and Bryce Beck. “I think that’s a big thing. He came in, struggled a little bit with the zone, but when it came down to it, he got it done.”
Dodge City led off each of the first two innings with a triple.
In the top of the first, Demons pitcher Austin Weiser drove a ball deep to center field, making it to third base. He was driven home by Jordan Doan.
Dakota Duckett struck a triple to right-center field for Dodge in the second, scoring after a pickoff attempt from Great Bend pitcher Bryce Beck got past third baseman Braden Jones.
Weiser got back on base with a single in the third inning, stealing second and scoring on a passed ball. Duckett hit an RBI single in the third, scoring Wells.
Beck responded with an RBI in the bottom of the third for the Panthers, driving in Brady Buehler, who led off the inning with a double. Wondra followed that with an RBI single, ushering Mitch Johnson across home plate.
Wells drove in two more runs for Dodge City in the fourth inning when a bad hop led to second baseman Buehler misplaying a grounder.
Great Bend took its first lead of the game in the bottom of the fourth, getting RBI doubles from Jack Westhoff, Wondra and Conaway. Bryce Beck got two RBIs to give the Panthers a 7-6 advantage.
The lead didn’t last as Duckett blasted a one-run home run off the scoreboard over the left-center field wall, knotting the score at seven. Doan followed with a solo shot in the top of the sixth over the left-field wall, making it 8-7.
“I felt like we battled at the plate,” Randy Beck said. “We were warriors at the plate, you know, not looking at strike three, putting the ball into play to make their defense make the plays like they were doing to us.”
Great Bend 7, Dodge City 3
Touslee took charge of Game 2 with his bat. He clubbed a two-run home run in the bottom of the first to cap a three-run inning.
Dodge City closed the gap to 3-2 in the top of the third, but Touslee, who finished with four RBIs in the game, drove in a run in the bottom of the inning to make it 4-2.
“Touslee had a big day,” Randy Beck said. “Brady Buehler had a big day. I think he had a six-hit day. He went 4-for-4 in Game 1.
“Touslee hit a lot of balls hard today.”
The Demons scored a run in the fourth before Touslee hit an RBI triple in the fifth as Great Bend took a 6-3 lead.
Jones scored in the sixth inning on a wild pitch to conclude Great Bend’s scoring.
Great Bend competes in the Western Diamond Classic in Hays, starting on Thursday.
The Panthers open tournament play against Hays on Thursday night at 7 at Hays High School.
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
Western Athletic Conference
At Great Bend
Great Bend 9, Dodge City 8
123 456 7 R H E
Dodge City 112 211 0 — 8 9 3
Great Bend 002 502 x — 9 13 3
Austin Weiser & Gideon Wells; Bryce Beck & Jack Westhoff. W — Beck. L — Kyle Riggs. S — Tristan Hall. 2B — Great Bend (Dakota Conaway 2, Brady Buehler, Westhoff, Shade Wondra, Chad Touslee). 3B — Dodge City (Weiser, Dakota Duckett). HR — Dodge City (Duckett, Jordan Doan).
Great Bend 7, Dodge City 3
123 456 7 R H E
Dodge City 002 100 0 — 3 6 4
Great Bend 301 021 x — 7 8 1
Andrew Balderez & Wells; Hall & Eric Ruiz. W — Hall. L — Balderez. 3B — Great Bend (Chad Touslee). HR — Great Bend (Touslee).