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Red-hot Bat Cats sweep Diamond Dawgs
Jett Forrest catch 4.jpg


CHENEY – It’s amazing what a comeback rally can do.

The Great Bend Bat Cats rallied past the first-place Hutchinson Monarchs 6-5 to win the series 3-2 in Tuesday’s rescheduled Sunflower Collegiate League ballgame after trailing 5-0.

Just 48 hours later, the Bat Cats finished off two-time NBC World Series runner-up Cheney with a dominating 12-3 victory. The Bat Cats (15-10) won four of five games to shock the Diamond Dawgs (15-9). Cheney lost to Santa Barbara, Calif. (2020) and the Seattle Studs (2019) in the NBC World Series championship game.

BAT CATS 12, CHENEY 3 (G2) — Noah Best ripped four hits and Best and Andrew Enwiya each drove home three runs to spark the victory.  Best delivered nine hits in the five-game series.

“I’m trying to keep it simple and barrel things up,” Best said in a postgame radio interview. “You’ve got to stay focused and keep it simple.”

The Bat Cats scored a club record nine runs in the third inning to cruise to a second-game victory. Nine consecutive batters reached base in the inning.

Enwiya started the fun with a first-inning single to score Alex Rodgers.

Best tripled home Rodgers to ignite the nine-run inning. Zane Spinn doubled home Best. Enwiya’s double scored Jett Forrest and Spinn. Tyler Henry and Dylan Blomquist forced home runs on walks. Brett Freiberg scored on a Rodgers’ sacrifice fly. Best’s single scored Henry and Blomquist for a 10-0 lead.

Bat Cats pitcher Jake Kuntzendorf (4-1) worked four scoreless innings until Grady Johnson drilled a three-run homer that brought home Gavin Rogers and Campbell Sullivan for a 10-3 score.

Great Bend’s J.D. Ortiz drilled a sixth-inning homer. Kyle Gates scored on Jett Forrest’s seventh-inning groundout.

Second baseman Brett Freiberg worked his defensive magic with a pair of double plays with shortstop Zane Spinn in the second inning (Gavin Rogers) and seventh inning (Trent Mallonee).

BAT CATS 4, CHENEY 3 (G1) – When the first six hitters reached base against Bat Cats starter Zach Thornton, things didn’t look promising. Thornton yielded two first-inning runs, but limited the damage because catcher Torres threw out Len Ashby on a double steal.

Thornton (2-1) settled in and worked five solid innings to earn the victory. Chris Lenocker earned the save with two shutout innings.

Bat Cat Forrest delivered the key hit with a fifth-inning RBI double that scored Best for a 3-3 tie. Forrest walked home with the eventual game-winner when pitcher Rex Ramirez walked Freiberg (.081) with the bases loaded.

Cheney rolled to a 2-0 first-inning lead. Mallonee scored on a double steal with Len Ashby. Gavin Rogers scored on an Isaac Williams single for a 2-0 lead.

Bat Cat Andrew Enwiya executed a perfect hit-and-run that set up a second-inning run. Spinn walked and scored on a Junior Torres groundout.

League-leader Alex Rodgers stole his 18th base and scored on a Forrest third-inning single for a 2-2 tie.

Cheney regained the lead when Mason King singled home Ed Scott in the fourth inning after a walk and single by Matt Baughn.

But the Bat Cats responded in the seven-inning affair with a two-run fifth inning. Forrest doubled home Best. Cheney helped the Bat Cats with an error and walks to Enwiya and Freiberg to hand Great Bend a 4-3 lead.

Lenocker saved the game when he stranded two baserunners by retiring Ashby on a sixth-inning pop out.

Bat Cats 011 020 0 – 4 8 1

Cheney 200 100 0 – 3 8 0

Thornton, Lenocker (6) and Torres. Ramirez, Cardoza (5) and Baughn. W—Thornton, 2-1. L—Ramirez, 2-3. SV—Lenocker. 2B—GB—Forrest; C—King.

Bat Cats 109 001 1 – 12 14 0

Cheney 000 030 0 – 3 9 2

Kuntzendorf,  Thomas (6) and Ortiz, Torres (7). Stanfield, Rodd (3), Ashcraft (4) and Johnson. W—Kuntzendorf, 4-1. L—Stanfield, 1-3.  2B—GB—Spinn, Enwiya, Best; C—Heefner. 3B—GB—Best. HR—GB—Ortiz; C—Johnson.