BY JIM MISUNAS
HUTCHINSON – The Great Bend Bat Cats are destined to be no better than the fourth-best team in the Sunflower Collegiate League. The Hutchinson Monarchs rolled past the Bat Cats 13-4 Saturday to drop Great Bend to 1-9 against the top three Sunflower League powerhouses. The Monarchs dominated with timely hitting and efficient pitching.
The Bat Cats hung within 6-4 through 41/2 innings, but were outscored 7-0 the rest of the way. The Bat Cats (12-13, 11-11) Sunflower lost all four games to Cheney, three of four against Rose Hill and two in a row against the Monarchs (14-4, 13-4 Sunflower). The Bat Cats play at Hutchinson at 6 p.m. Sunday.
Monarch Taylor Barber drove home five runs and Hamm drove in three runs. Bat Cats starter Joe Richter and reliever Adrian Talavera were tagged for 18 hits.
A topped single by Anthony McKenzie and error on Taylor Barber dug the Bat Cats into a 2-0 hole. Dylan Nedved's single scored McKenzie and Barber scored on Austin Callahan's sacrifice fly. Barber's single scored Clayton Chadwick and McKenzie for a 4-0 lead.
Jake Baker's seeing-eye third-inning single drove home Chance Ragsdale and a hustling Alex Rodgers when shortstop Nedved held onto the baseball. Collin Meinert scored on an error for a 4-3 score.
Barber's fourth-inning single brought home Koby Ketcher and Chadwick for a 6-3 lead. Brady Michel's single scored Ragsdale for a 6-4 score after 41/2 innings. But relievers Bryson Lucas, Josh Fortenberry and Aaron Haase shut out the Bat Cats in the final four innings.
The Monarchs dominated 7-0 the rest of the game. Hamm's single drove home Reetz in the fifth inning. Austin Hamm singled home Reetz and Callahan in the seventh inning. The Monarchs finished with a four-run eighth inning off fatigued reliever Talavera. Barber's double drove home McKenzie. Nedved's single plated Barber. Reetz doubled home Nedved. Luke Sartori singled home Reetz for a 13-4 victory.
MONARCHS 13, BAT CATS 4
Great Bend 003 010 000 – 4 7 2
Hutchinson 220 210 24x – 13 18 2
Richter, Talavera (6) and Touchet. Howell, Lucas (6), Fortenberry (6), Haase (9) and Hamm. W–Howell. L–Richter. 2B–H–Reetz 2, Barber.