HAYS — When the dust finally settled in this Hays Diamond Classic slugfest — after a combined 23 runs, 26 hits, 12 errors and numerous wild pitches and passed balls — Great Bend High School finally got the best of Colby on Friday evening at Larks Park.
The Panthers scored in every inning but the fifth, survived a Colby comeback bid and tacked on a trio of runs in each of the final two innings to record a 14-9 victory and improve to 12-2 on the season.
"When it counted, when we needed to add to our lead, we got it done," Great Bend head coach Randy Beck said. "They closed the gap on us, but we really had some big hits, some extra-base hits, to help Tristan (Hall) on the mound.
"This game was more of a slugfest. It was less moving runners and more scoring runners. I felt like we kept them in the game a few times with the errors, allowing them to hang around with us as the game went on. We just need to close it out."
Beck brought in Hall, normally a starter, in the midst of Colby's four-run fifth, slashing Great Bend's lead to 8-7.
But the Panthers answered in a big way, keyed by Brady Buehler's run-scoring triple, getting three runs in the top of the sixth for an 11-7 lead.
"That was really our instigating hit in the sixth inning," Beck said of Buehler. "He's swinging the bat with a lot of confidence right now."
Colby, 9-8 overall, closed the gap to 11-9 in the sixth after Luke Cox crashed a solo home run over the fence in left-center field off Hall, an estimated 360-foot drive, and Todd Kane followed with a triple and scored on Zach Stones' double.
But the Panthers scored three more in the seventh, highlighted by Dakota Conaway's triple, Buehler's RBI single and Hall's two-run triple.
"We've talked about confidence as of late and I hope we continue to play with confidence," Beck said. "I think maybe that we lacked a little confidence today.
"I don't know why, but I just felt like we weren't swinging the bat with as much confidence as we've had in the past."
From his No. 5 spot in the batting order, Buehler also had a two-run single in the first, as the second baseman finished 3-for-4 and drove in four runs.
During Great Bend's two-run third, Buehler also had a sacrifice bunt, moving Conaway and Chad Touslee into scoring position, where they both later scored.
Conaway finished 3-for-3 and scored four times.
Of their 14 hits, the Panthers didn't have any extra-base hits until after the fifth.
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL
2013 Hays Diamond Classic
Great Bend 14, Colby 9
123 456 7 R H E
GBHS 312 203 3 — 14 14 7
Colby 300 042 0 — 9 12 5
Marc Bremenkamp, Austin Boehme (4), Luke Cox (7) & Todd Kane; Dillon Reiser, Mitch Johnson (4), Tristan Hall (5) & Kyle Riggs. W — Hall. L — Bremenkamp. 2B — Colby (Kane). 3B — Great Bend (Brady Buehler, Dakota Conaway, Hall); Colby (Kane). HR — Colby (Luke Cox).
• CRUNCHIN' THE NUMBERS
Buehler: 3-for-4, 3B, sac, 4 RBI; Conaway: 3-3, 3B, 4 runs, RBI; Johnny Allende 2-3, HBP, run; Bryce Beck: 2-4, 2 runs; Shade Wondra 1-5, run; Chad Touslee: 1-4, run, RBI; Braden Jones: 1-3, run, BB, HBP; Hall: 1-2, 3B, 2 RBI; Kyle Riggs 0-2, SF, RBI