WICHITA – Great Bend’s Alex Schremmer slid home safely for an apparent third run on a sacrifice fly when St. Thomas Aquinas baseball coach Lorne Parks signaled for an appeal.
Great Bend coach Randy Beck suspected Schremmer left third base early. He prayed for a break in the 5A state baseball tournament at Eck Stadium.
The home plate umpire confirmed Beck’s belief to end the Panthers’ only threat of the day on a double play on Koy Brack’s fly ball. The play preserved the Saints’ 5-2 lead in an eventual 6-2 opening victory over the Panthers Friday. Four of six runs scored without an RBI on a base hit.
“He left early – there’s no doubt,” Beck said. “We had the momentum on our side at that moment. Had we scored, it was 5-3 with two out. We had potential for a bigger inning. It killed our momentum.”
Great Bend (10-11) rallied after trailing 5-0 after four innings.
Chance Perry’s sacrifice bunt moved Joey Soupiset and Riley Smith into scoring position after
back-to-back fifth-inning singles. Alex Schremmer’s routine fly ball was dropped to load the bases. Calan Haberman delivered a crisp two-run single off starter Gunnar Sehon to score Soupiset and Smith.
Brack’s fly ball to centerfielder Alex Henning was deep enough to score Schremmer, who left a split second early.
The Saints (20-3) scored in the first four innings for a 5-0 lead on starter Colin Hall (4-2). The Panthers contributed four errors and missed a few other defensive plays that handed the Saints extra bases and outs.
“They did a good job manufacturing runs,” Beck said. “You can’t make too many mistakes at the state tournament. We made a couple mental mistakes defensively that hurt us. We made a few physical errors.”
Blake Anderson scored the Saints’ first inning run on a groundball that third baseman Joey Soupiset missed a legitimate chance to throw him out at home. Two infield errors led to the unearned run.
Alex Henning singled home pinch runner Preston Cowley in the second inning after an error led to a second unearned run. Kendall Riggs drove home Justin Mark after his third-inning left-field shot eluded a diving attempt by Chance Perry to reward him with a triple rather than a single.
Hunter Moffet scored on an errant throw on a double steal and Anderson’s RBI single drove home Henning for a 5-0 lead after four innings.
The Saints and Panthers have each won three state baseball championships.
“I’m extremely proud what our seniors accomplished to get us to the state tournament the past two years,” Beck said. “You can’t end your career at a better place than Eck Stadium.”
Great Bend 000 020 0 – 2 4 4
Aquinas 111 201 x – 6 12 1
Hall, Kurth (6) and Jesus Bujanda. Sehon and Brethowr. W—Sehon, 5-1. L—Hall, 4-3. 2B—A—Bryant. 3B—A—Mark.