To be certain, the Great Bend High School baseball team isn’t in the sharing mood right now.
The Panthers, 12-3 overall, 5-1 in the Western Athletic Conference, travel to Garden City today for a critical conference doubleheader, starting at 4 p.m.
Great Bend controls its destiny. By sweeping the Buffaloes, it can capture the WAC title outright. A split might translate into sharing the crown with Hays (4-2).
“For us, the losses we had (to Goddard and Salina Central at the Hays Diamond Classic this past weekend), we gave the other team extra opportunities to score,” said fourth-year Great Bend skipper Randy Beck, seeking his first WAC championship as a head coach.
“All season long, we’ve been solid. Another thing is to get our bats going. I think we can beat anybody, when we’re on. We need to have quality at-bats.”
The Panthers committed seven errors but also bashed 14 hits in a 14-9 win over Colby on Friday, although the victory was sandwiched by a 2-0 loss to Goddard earlier in the day and an 11-4 setback to Salina Central on Saturday.
On Thursday, GBHS defeated Hays 9-4.
The Panthers have a team batting average of .323 on the season, including six players hitting .310 or better.
Shortstop/pitcher Bryce Beck leads the Panthers with a .500 average (24 for 48). Twenty of Beck’s hits have been singles, and he also leads the team in on-base percentage (.569) and stolen bases (10).
Right fielder Chad Touslee is No. 2 on the team with a .432 clip (19 for 44). The left-handed-hitting Touslee, who has hit the Panthers’ lone home run, leads the team with 16 runs batted in.
First baseman Dakota Conaway is batting .415 (17 for 41), with 10 of his 17 hits going for extra bases. He leads the club in doubles (7), triples (3) and slugging percentage (.732).
Today’s games are the first of two doubleheaders this week for the Panthers, who entertain Larned on Thursday at the Great Bend Sports Compex in the regular-season finale, starting at 4.
All four games are vital to the Panthers’ Class 5A regional seeding. Regional play starts next Tuesday, and Great Bend currently is in second place behind Maize South.
Tristan Hall and Beck figure to be the starting pitchers for the Panthers against Garden City.
• Panthers hit leaders
Bryce Beck .500
Chad Touslee .432
Dakota Conaway .415
Brady Buehler .400
Shade Wondra .333
Johnny Allende .310
• RBI leaders
• Pitching leaders
Tristan Hall 5-0, 2.38 ERA
Braden Jones 2-0, 2.63 ERA
Beck 3-1, 4.93 ERA