Bat Cats stage rally for 11-7 comeback victory


BY JIM MISUNAS
jmisunas@gbtribune.com

A crazy night finished with a crazy play.

Newton ready to have the tying batter up to the plate when baserunner Easton Elliot was hit in the leg on a single by teammate Conner Owens, allowing the Great Bend Bat Cats to escape with a wild 11-7 Sunflower Collegiate League baseball victory.

With sparkplug Alex Rodgers and Kyle Gates sidelined and trailing 4-1, the Great Bend Bat Cats other players had to step up.

Sure enough, one-by-one, Raithan Malone, Brady Kreutzer and Si Schumacher delivered three clutch hits that rallied the Bat Cats past a shocked Newton Rebels team 11-7 Thursday at Al Burns Memorial Field.

Hays Thomas More Prep graduate Kreutzer saved the day with a 2-out, 2-run single that scored French and Larranaga off reliever Dalton Patten for a 9-7 lead.

“It shattered my bat, but it died a hero,” Krautzer said. “He was feeding fastballs. I looked for first pitch fastball. I got a good pitch to hit. Our lineup found a way.”

The eighth inning started with an error, a hit batter and a walk. Gritty Si Schumacher delivered two bonus runs when his bloop single scored Bodi Wallar and Kreutzer for an 11-7 lead.

Lockdown reliever George Austin struck out three batters in two innings. Left fielder French prevented a run with a dazzling eighth inning catch.

The Bat Cats (14-1, 10-0 Sunflower) lost its sparkplug when Rodgers left after sliding hard into second base in the fifth inning.

But Great Bend rallied when Newton’s pitchers walked four batters and hit two batters in a 6-run sixth inning. Malone delivered a crucial hit with a 2-run double. Dawson French and Simon Larranaga forced home runs on hit by pitches. Bodi Wallar forced home a run with a bases-loaded walk. Colter Maldanado’s sacrifice fly drove home French for a 7-4 lead.

Newton’s hot-hitting Gray Rowlett made Bat Cats reliever JC Gonzalez pay for back-to-back walks with a 3-run homer for a 7-7 after seven innings.

The Bat Cats defense saved the ballgame. Shortstop Malone and second baseman Kreutzer turned a 6-4-3 second-inning double play. Kruetzer turned Brandon Harpers fourth-inning line shot into a double play. Centerfielder Rodgers made his typical leaping catch on Gray Rowlett’s fly ball.

Elliott’s 2-run single handed Newton a 2-0 lead. Malone’s single scored Schumacher for a 2-1 score. Newton’s Jack Bell scored on a wild pitch and Patten scored on a groundout for a 4-1 Newton lead after 51/2 innings.

Great Bend travels to Newton (7-4, 5-4) Friday and Sunday to finish the 4-game series.

Newton 002 011 300 – 7 10 4

GB Bat Cats 010 006 04x – 11 8 1

Bingesser, Nace (4), Schroeder (6), Guerra (6), Patten (8) and Young. McWilliams, Gonzalez (4), Austin (8) and Schumacher. W—Austin, 1-0. L—Patten. 2B—GB—Rodgers; N—Bell. HR—N—Rowlett.

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