The Class A Hays Eagles played three AAA starters in an attempt to steal a Legion state tournament berth.
The Great Bend Braves ruined that plan with a 10-5 victory Wednesday over the Eagles to spoil another postseason for a Hays baseball team. The Great Bend Panthers turned a similar trick by upsetting the Hays Indians during the high school baseball season.
Chayse Gruber keyed a game-clinching four-run seventh inning with a bases-loaded double. Hays gambled and lost big time when the Eagles intentionally walked Joseph Moeder and Paco Hernandez to pitch to Gruber. Gruber drove home four runs with four hits.
Braves pitcher Stefan Spray (3-3) worked six innings and shut out the Eagles in his final three innings.
Hays’ AAA players produced three runs. Dominic Bainter doubled and tripled and drove home two runs. Brady Kreutzer singled home a run, but was tagged with the loss after yielding six runs in three innings.
Spray doubled home Paco Hernandez and Gruber in a three-run second inning. Esten Moore singled home Spray for a 3-2 lead. Gruber singled home Brad Beck to ignite a three-run third inning.
Gavin Haberman’s bunt single scored Joseph Moeder. Moore singled home Spray for a 6-2 lead after 21/2 innings. Hays responded with a three-run third inning. Kreutzer singled home Dawson VonFeldt. Bainter doubled home Kreutzer. Dalton Dale singled home Bainter for a 6-5 score.
The Braves made the key defensive play when catcher Brad Beck relayed to third baseman Gruber who tagged out Dalton Dale on an attempted double steal.
The Braves scored four unearned seventh-inning runs when pitcher Keatyn Barnett threw the ball away. Sage Koelsch scored on Barnett’s error and Gruber cleared the bases with his three-run double.
GB Braves 033 000 4 – 10 13 3
Hays Eagles 203 000 0 – 5 6 2
Spray, Koelsch (7) and Beck. Kreutzer, Barnett (4) and Cox. W—Spray, 3-3. L—Kreutzer. 2B—GB—Beck, Spray, Haberman, Gruber; H—Bainter, VonFeldt. 3B—H—Bainter.