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Tigers win regional title, beat Ark Valley-CTL foe Newton
Panthers fall to Railers in semifinals
spt mm Beck pickoff move
Great Bends junior starting pitcher, Bryce Beck, makes a pickoff move to first base during Tuesdays first-round Class 5A regional tournament game at the Great Bend Sports Complex. - photo by Mack McClure Great Bend Tribune

In Tuesday’s Class 5A regional baseball tournament at the Great Bend Sports Complex, the Ark Valley-Chisolm Trail League had the upper hand against Western Athletic Conference opponents.
After sixth-seeded Goddard Eisenhower edged No. 3 seed Hays 3-2 in the opener, seventh-seeded Newton whistled past Great Bend 11-1, setting up an all-Ark Valley-Chisolm Trail final.
In the regional championship game, Goddard Eisenhower scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning for a 6-2 victory. The Tigers advance to the state tournament in Wichita, set for a week from Thursday and Friday at Eck Stadium on the Wichita State University campus.
Newton, which plays in the Ark Valley-Chisolm Trail Division-I, hadn’t played its D-II foe in Goddard Ike in the regular season. That game was postponed.
But the Tigers held on after Newton closed the gap to 3-2, buoyed by a trio of runs in the sixth.

Newton 11, Great Bend 1
Great Bend (15-5) had secured the No. 2 seed for regional play, but decisive bursts in the middle innings put the Railers in command.
“After you lose in the postseason, it takes a while to get over the loss and step back and take a look at the season that we accomplished a lot,” Great Bend head coach Randy Beck said. “A 15-win season and WAC (co-) champs ... there’s a lot of positive things. It’s hard to look through that right now.”
Newton turned the tables on GBHS, doing the things that the Panthers had done all season — moving runners and manufacturing runs in winning 11 of their first 12 games.
The Railers (7-12) mounted a 7-0 lead after scoring one run in the first inning and three runs in both the third and fourth. It was 9-0 after five, 10-1 after six and a 10-run separation in the end.
Newton’s Gunar Drinnen went 4-for-5 at the plate, including a ground-rule double in the first, giving Newton a 1-0 lead. He also had an RBI triple in the fifth
Great Bend left the bases loaded in the second and third, a microcosm of its fortunes on this day.
In the second, Braden Jones and Shade Wondra hit back-to-back two-out singles and Dillon Reiser followed by getting hit by a pitch to fill the bases. But Bryce Beck took a called third strike to end the threat.
In the third, Brady Buehler, Chad Touslee and Eric Ruiz loaded the bases via walks. But Jones popped up on the infield to end the inning.
In all, the Panthers had seven runners left on base through the first three innings.
“By having the bases loaded twice, we knew we could do it, but today wasn’t our day,” Touslee said. “I’ve had a lot of fun times playing baseball and it’s a big part of my family.
“It was really nice beating Hays two out of three games and getting a WAC title out of it. But in the postseason, anything can happen.”
The Panthers scored their lone run in the sixth on Beck’s RBI single, breaking up pitcher Keil Stauffer’s shutout bid.
Brady Buehler, Johnny Allende and Dakota Conaway also had base hits for the Panthers.
“It seems like all season long, once we cracked that seal and got that first guy home, then it seems like things have gone well for us, but we just couldn’t do that early on,” Randy Beck said.
Losing pitcher Beck lasted until the third, leaving in favor of Tristan Hall after trailing 4-0. But Hall wasn’t able to stem the tide.
Tuesday’s game was a rematch between GBHS and Newton, who met in the opening round in last year’s regional at Goddard. The Panthers beat Newton 6-5 on Bryce Hofmeister’s suicide squeeze, driving in pinch-runner Mitch Johnson with the tiebreaking run in the bottom of the seventh.
GBHS lost to Goddard 8-0 in the 2012 regional title game.
Goddard Eisenhower 6,
Newton 2
The Tigers (10-11) scored a trio of runs for a 3-0 lead in the third, and then tacked on three more in the sixth for good measure.
Newton (7-13) closed to 3-2 in the fifth, but Goddard Eisenhower put it out of reach in the sixth, highlighted by Trevor Hughes’ towering two-run double in the alley in right-center field.
Junior Sam Hersh captured the win for the Tigers and freshman Bradon Minor, the winning pitcher against Hays, got the save.
Goddard Eisenhower had lost eight games by two runs or less during the regular season, showing its strength of schedule.

Class 5A Regional Tournament

At Great Bend
Great Bend Sports Complex


Goddard Eisenhower 3, Hays 2
                         123   456  7        R   H  E
G-E                   000   300  0  —   3   7   2
HHS                  000   100  1  —   2   8   1
     Hayden Hutchison & Jake Sedbrook; Bradon Minor & Trevor Hughes. W — Hughes. L — Hutchison. 2B — Hays (Hutchison 2). 3B — Eisenhower (Minor).

Newton 11, Great Bend 1
                       123  456  7         R    H   E
Newton          103  321  1   —  11  12   2
GBHS              000  001  0   —    1    6   1
     Keil Stauffer, Ben Wright & Tucker Sweely; Bryce Beck, Tristan Hall (3), Johnny Allende (4), Bryce Hofmeister (7) & Eric Ruiz. W — Stauffer. L — Beck (5-2). 2B — Newton (Keil Stauffer, Gunar Drinnen, Dakota Long). 3B — Newton (Drinnen).

Goddard Eisenhower 6, Newton 2
                        123   456   7         R   H  E
New                000   020   0  —   2    5   0
G-E                 003   003   x  —   6    8   2
     Sam Hersh, Bradon Minor (7) & Hughes; Gronau, Fulmer (6) & Sweely. W — Hersh. L — Gronau. S — Minor. 2B — Goddard Eisenhower (Trevor Hughes).