Goddard is the destination for the Great Bend High School baseball team in Class 5A regional play.
The third-seeded Panthers (13-7) draw Newton (7-13) in a first-round game on Tuesday, with the winner taking on either host and No. 2 seed Goddard (17-3) or Valley Center (6-14) for the right to advance to the state tournament.
By sweeping Dodge City on Friday, Western Athletic Conference champion Hays (18-2) secured the top seed, and will play host to the other 5A bracket in the west.
“When it gets to the postseason, anything can happen,” Great Bend head coach Randy Beck said. “Everybody’s record is 0-0 and anybody that gets hot going in can have a chance of making it to state.”
The Panthers wanted another shot at Hays, which beat them in a pair of one-run conference games in Hays earlier in the season, but focus is on the Goddard regional.
“To get to state, we’re going to have to beat good teams, no matter what route we take,” Randy Beck said. “We’re going to be ready for the challenge on Tuesday and hope things go our way.”
The Panthers have a team batting average of .325. From the No. 3 spot in the batting order, Jace Bowman leads the team in batting average (.493), at-bats (69), hits (34), home runs (2) and runs batted in (22). He ranks second in doubles (9) and stolen bases (12).
“We’re focused at this point of the season, one game at a time,” Bowman said. “We need to focus on practice and get ready for our next game.
“Anything we have to do to win, That’s all that matters. I’ve had a good season thus far, and I just need to get ready for the postseason.”
Matt Marshall is hitting .400 (24 for 60) and also ranks second on the team in hits (24), singles (21) and RBIs (16) from the No. 2 hole.
Leadoff hitter Sell also leads the team in doubles (10) and runs scored (28).
Mitch Kottas, a senior right-hander and the ace of the pitching staff, has a 4-0 record and a team-leading 1.70 earned run average with 20 strikeouts.
Senior right-hander Braden Jones owns a 3-2 mark, a 2.57 ERA and 16 strikeouts, and Bryce Beck, a sophomore right-hander, has a 3-2 record, a 3.94 ERA and 14 strikeouts.
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
Class 5A regional tournament
Great Bend (13-7) vs. Newton (7-13), 2 p.m.
Goddard (17-3) vs. Valley Center (6-14), 4 p.m.
Regional championship, 6 p.m.