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McKenna Maulers slam stamps exclamation mark on GBHS sweep of Hays
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Great Bend High Schools Kaylie Doll lays down a bunt against Hays in a Western Athletic Conference doubleheader on Friday evening at Elmo Lowry Field. - photo by Kevin Price Great Bend Tribune

Game 1 was close.
Great Bend High School’s softball team came out on top 4-1 thanks in part to a pair of home runs over Hays.
The Lady Panthers kicked it up a notch in Game 2.
Capped off with a McKenna Mauler walk-off grand slam that enacted the run rule, Great Bend secured the Western Athletic Conference sweep 14-3 in six innings.
“We came out and we knew that we didn’t play our best (on Thursday) and we knew that we had an opportunity to come out and make a little bit of a statement against a really good team,” GBHS head coach Carrie Minton said. “We know they have a really good pitcher in Hannah Hearld and the girls just went to the plate and were really aggressive with it.”
Great Bend had two of its five home runs in the first game.
“Five home runs, one of them being a grand slam,” Minton said, “that’s not a bad day on the diamond. It was just great that our girls came out and were a little down on themselves for how they played yesterday, but they’re so competitive and they hate to lose. They were just ready to go when they got here.”
The first of the long balls was from Hunter Middleton, who sent a solo shot over the wall.
Dakota Sanders launched the second, a two-run shot.
The other run was driven in by a Keslie Doll double.
Braylin Bretz pitched the first game, scattering six hits.
“Defensively, we played a great game,” Minton said of Game 1. “Braylin pitched a great game. Our girls did a great job of locking things down and making good plays. It was one of those things where we were so much more confident in what we were doing.”
In the second game, Great Bend jumped ahead early.
Kaylie Doll reached on an error and scored on a Sanders single.
Middleton got an RBI single to make it 2-0 after one inning played.
“We wanted to make sure going into Game 2 that we kept that momentum from Game 1,” Minton said. “We just wanted to make sure that when we got back in there we didn’t get complacent. We got right back at them.
“It was great to see our girls kind of jump out to an early lead and finish it off with a couple home runs.”
In the second inning, Kacee Kasselman and Kelsie Doll reached on errors with Kasselman scoring on the error that put Kelsie on base.
Kaylie Doll drew a walk, putting the Dolls on the corners. Kaylie was thrown out stealing second, but Kelsie scored on the play.
That cleared the bases for Sanders, who blasted her second home run of the doubleheader, this one sailing over the scoreboard.
“Dakota hits the ball really well,” Minton said. “She swings the bat really hard, and when you’re facing a pitcher like Hearld, if you make solid contact, there’s a good chance you’re hitting the ball a long ways.”
Hays scored its first run in the top of the third, but McKenna Mauler got on base to lead off the bottom of the inning, scoring on an error.
Things went quiet for the fourth, but Hays scored two more runs in the fifth, making it 6-3.
Great Bend scored four runs in the bottom of the inning, including a two-run homer from Lauren Welsch.
With the lead at 11-3 heading into the sixth, Great Bend needed one run to enact the run rule.
It got four.
Two walks and a single loaded the bases for McKenna Mauler.
With two outs and two strikes against her, Mauler blasted a shot over the scoreboard in center field to drive in four runs and enact the run rule.
“What’s great is with two outs and bases loaded, it’s like there’s no pressure,” Minton said. “She just went up there and took care of business.”

Western Athletic Conference


At Great Bend
Veterans Memorial Park
Elmo Lowry Field

Great Bend 4, Hays 1
               123   456   7       R   H   E
Hays       000  100   0  —   1    6   0
GBHS       013  000   x  —  4   10   1
Madison Prough & Haley Wells. Braylin Bretz & Dakota Sanders. W — Bretz. L — Prough. 2B — Hays (Hannah Hearld); Great Bend (Kelsie Doll, Elizabeth Barber).

Great Bend 14, Hays 3
                     123  456        R   H   E
Hays             001  020  —   3   6   5
GBHS            231  044  —  14  8   4
Hannah Hearld & Haley Wells. Hunter Middleton & Hannah Mauler. W — Middleton. L — Hearld. 2B — Hays (Albany Schaffer). HR — Great Bend (Dakota Sanders, Lauren Welsch, McKenna Mauler).