The Hays Senior Eagles American Legion team claimed a Class AAA Zone 1 title after rallying from a nine-run deficit to edge the Great Bend Chiefs 13-12 in dramatic fashion on Sunday at the Great Bend Sports Complex.
The Eagles, who are already qualified for the AAA State Tournament July 31 to Aug. 4 in Hays, were declared Zone champs after winning their two bracket games. The Eagles did not have to return to Great Bend to play another game Monday since that game wouldn't have held implications in state seeding.
The Eagles will enter the state tournament with a 30-6 record. Great Bend will play Nickerson on Monday night with the winner being the Zone 1 runner-up and advancing to state.
Against Great Bend, the Eagles scored two in the top of the first inning but surrendered eight runs in the bottom of the first and trailed 11-2 after three innings.
Hays chipped away with three-run frames in the fourth and fifth innings before grabbing the lead with a four-run sixth inning.
In the sixth, Brock Lummus tied the game at 11 with an RBI single and was brought home by Brady Kreutzer’s single to give the Eagles the lead. Great Bend tied the game back up with a run in the bottom of the sixth. The game went to extras after both teams were scoreless in the seventh.
Colby Dreiling’s groundout brought in Brady Kreutzer in the eighth, proving to be the deciding run.
The Chiefs loaded the bases after drawing back-to-back two-out walks in the bottom of the eighth, but Eagles pitcher Cody Petersen got out of the jam by snagging a lineout to the mound.
Kreutzer went 4-for-4 at the plate with three runs driven in.
In Saturday’s zone opener, the Eagles used a whopping 15-run third inning to cruise past the Nickerson Panthers for an 18-5 run-rule victory.
The Eagles had six extra-base hits including home runs from Palmer Hutchison and Petersen.
Kreutzer and Willie Sennett tripled for the Eagles while Hutchison and Josh Haynes doubled. Hutchison had a three-hit game while Kreutzer had two hits.