WICHITA — After Great Bend’s baseball team handed top seed Shawnee Heights four unearned runs, the Panthers had their chances.
Alex Schremmer’s three hits helped deliver two runs in Thursday’s 10-2 state baseball loss to Shawnee Heights at Wichita State’s Eck Stadium. The game was delayed for 47 minutes and 13 minutes by passing rain showers.
“Alex showed why he’s such a great competitor,” said Great Bend coach Randy Beck. “He swung the bat really well today.”
The Panthers wasted Schremmer’s first-inning triple, had a bases-loaded threat in the second and stranded two baserunners in the third inning to fall behind 9-0.
Shawnee Heights (21-2) plays rival Topeka Seaman (19-4) in Friday’s semifinal.
“We gave up a big first inning, but we had our chances,” said Beck. “We stranded six baserunners in the first three innings. We didn’t deliver the big base hit. In big games, you’ve got to take advantage.”
The plan went exactly like Shawnee Heights wanted – No. 4 starter Chase Reynolds (3-0) worked into the sixth inning.
He struck out Koy Brack and Eddie Bujanda to strand Schremmer in the first inning. Reynolds retired Riley Smith and Townshend Kurth to leave the bases loaded in the second inning. Bujanda’s third-inning double to the left-field fence should’ve scored Brack, who delayed moving to second base. Joey Soupiset’s fly ball also should’ve scored Brack from third base, but he failed to tag up.
The Panthers scratched out two fourth-inning runs when Schremmer’s single scored Calan Haberman and Riley Smith scrambled home on a wild pitch after he reached on an error.
The Thunderbirds parlayed three hits, two Panther errors and a walk in a five-run first inning off hard-luck starter Colin Hall. Tanner Buckley delivered an RBI single and Jayden Zimmerman drilled a two-run single after two catchable fly balls were missed.
Logan Brede, Zimmerman, Dawson Durkes and Mitchell Lady drove home runs in a four-run third inning. Reliever Dalton Bieker kept the Panthers alive for seven innings with four solid innings.
Zimmerman capped a four-RBI day with an RBI fifth-inning single for a 10-2 lead.
The Panthers enjoyed a few sparkling defensive moments. Catcher Koy Brack threw out Mitchell Lady at second base and Chase Reynolds at third base. Shortstop Schremmer and centerfielder Haberman both made great defensive plays.
Great Bend finishes 9-14 after shocking Salina Central 3-0 and Liberal 2-0 to qualify for 5A state baseball.
“If you have a choice, you want your season to end at the state baseball tournament,” Beck said. “We’ve got a taste of what it means to get back to the state tournament. We’ve got a great nucleus returning, plus new guys coming up.”
SHAWNEE HEIGHTS 10, GREAT BEND 2
Great Bend 000 000 2 – 2 5 2
Shawnee Hts. 500 000 0 x – 10 9 1
Hall, Bieker (3) and Brack. Reynolds, Cushing (6) and Zimmerman, Reynolds (6). W—Reynolds, 3-0. L—Hall, 3-1. 2B—GB—Bujanda. 3B—GB—Schremmer