GC Elite opens Clanton Memorial with 10-0 win over Cimarron.

6/28/2014

By BRETT MARSHALL

By BRETT MARSHALL

bmarshall@gctelegram.com

Even though the Garden City Elite American Legion Post No. 9 cruised to a 10-0, four-inning run-rule victory on Friday morning over Cimarron to open the 27th annual Jim Clanton Memorial Baseball Tournament, coach Lyle Befort knows his team will have to be much sharper as the three-day marathon tournament progresses.

The Elite was to have that opportunity with their 9 p.m. Friday night game against the Goodland Outlaws, with both games being played at Clint Lightner Stadium.

Through the first weeks of June's summer schedule, the Elite has produced an impressive 14-2 won-loss record, but the weekend goal for the Clanton Memorial is pretty clear for Befort and his teamthey want to walk off the field Sunday afternoon with the championship.

"Lee (Clanton) called me earlier this week and said a Garden City team hadn't won the tournament since 2000," Befort said minutes after watching his team shake off the early morning doldrums and a scoreless first inning to breeze by Cimarron. "We want to win the thing, and this is our third year together, so we know what's expected."

After being retired 1-2-3 in the bottom of the first, the Elite got their offense going with two runs in the second, three in the third and capping off the shortened game with a five-run outburst in the fourth.

Mario Montoya and Isaiah Rodriguez each drove in a pair of runs, while Thomas Solorio, Marcus Zapata and Logan Dechant had one RBI apiece. The Elite cracked out nine hits, with Ivan Gutierrez and Montoya leading the way with two apiece. Daven Acker, Jacob Rivas, Dechant and Rodriguez led the extra-base hit parade with one double each.

"Coach (Befort) is helping us out a lot on our swings," Montoya said afterward. "Last week (at Pueblo, Colo., tournament), we made a couple of errors in the field, but today we improved."

Montoya echoed his coach's goal for the team during the tournament this weekendto win it all.

To do so, the Elite will have to get through its pool play on Friday and today, then be seeded into bracket play, which is slated to begin later today.

"It's fun to play at home and in front of the crowd," Montoya said.

Montoya said that most of the players who played spring ball at Garden City High School are having fun this summer.

"My hitting has probably improved the most, and my fielding is getting better, too," the first baseman said. "I'm doing a better job of driving in runs when we need them, and my pitch selection at the plate is getting better."

Befort said that the Elite will need to do a better job from the outset in the upcoming games if they are to be where they want to be come Sunday afternoon.

"Right now, if we face a good team, and have to try and come from behind, somebody's gonna shut us down," Befort said. "I want us to get the lead early and keep the pressure on."

Befort said he has stressed hitting a lot since the summer season began in early June.

"We've put in a lot of hours working with the kids on their hitting," Befort said. "They had long, flowing swings before, and now we're getting them into more short, compact, powerful swings."

Daniel Flores was the recipient of the 10-run, nine-hit supportive attack as the right-hander went the four innings, giving up just three hitsall singles to Kaden Stien, Reagan Kliesen and Kyler Stienand recorded five strikeouts while walking just one. AJ Cooper suffered the loss for Cimarron, going three innings, giving up five runs on six hits. He walked three and didn't record a strikeout.

"Daniel missed a few practices, so we continue to work on his delivery, and he's gotta know to get ahead in the count," Befort said of Flores. "He's also gotta realize he has a good defense behind him, and just put the ball in play and let the defense do their thing."

The Clanton Memorial has 23 teams competing in three age groups, with the 14 and unders, 16 and unders, and 19 and unders, playing at Lightner, Williams Stadium and Academy Field.

Today's schedule was to begin at 8 a.m. at all three diamonds, with games continuing through 10 p.m. starts. Sunday's bracket play will begin at 9 a.m. with championship games set for 3 p.m. in the upper two age group divisions.

At press time, the Elite's scheduled game against Goodland had not finished.

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GC Elite 10, Cimarron 0 (4 inn.)

Cimarron 000 0 -- 0 3 2

GC Elite 023 5 -- 10 9 0

Cooper, Chr. Fischer and Kliesen; Flores and Solorio. WP--Flores; LP--Cooper. LOB--Cimarron 4, GC Elite 5. 2B--GC Elite (Acker, Rivas, Dechant, Rodriguez).

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Thursday's Results

19 UnderPool B

SW Kansas River Rats 24, Hugoton 4

14 & Under

SW Kansas Hitters 5, GC Royals 2

Friday's Results

19 & Under Division

Columbine, Colo. Elite 9, Ellis Legion 7

Hugoton 10, Butler County Cubs 5

Ellis Legion 6, Dodge City Sr. Rangers 5

Lamar, Colo. Warriors 4, Butler County Cubs 0

GC Elite 10, Cimarron 0 (4 innings)

Dodge City Sr. Rangers 10, Colby Sluggers 2

Hooker, Okla. Horny Toads 7, Cimarron 1

Lamar, Colo. Warriors 11, SW Kansas River Rats 1

Goodland Outlaws 10, Hooker, Okla. Horny Toads 5

Columbine, Colo. Elite 9, Colby Sluggers 6

GC Elite 9, Goodland Outlaws 5

16 & Under Division

Garden City Bombers 14, Minneola 13

Butler County Yankees 8, Widefield Gladiators 0

Butler County Cubs 13, Dodge City Jr. Rangers 2

Liberal Rattlers 7, Ulysses 6

14 & Under Division

Liberal Rattlers 25, Garden City 13s 10

Liberal Rattlers 11, Garden City Storm 3

Hugoton Jokers 16, GC Royals 4

SW Hitters 20, Garden City Storm 1

Hugoton Jokers 16, Garden City 13s 1

Saturday's Results

19 & Under Division

GC Elite 16, Hooker, Okla. Horny Toads 2

Goodland Outlaws 11, Cimarron 7

Butler County Cubs 14, SW Kansas River Rats 2

Lamar, Colo. 6, Hugoton 2

Ellis Legion 11, Colby 3

16 & Under Division

Liberal Rattlers 7, Dodge City Jr. Rangers 6

Butler County Cubs 4, Ulysses 3

Butler County Yankees 14, Minneola 2

Ulysses 7, Dodge City Jr. Rangers 3

Garden City Bombers 4, Widefield Gladiators 0

14 & Under Division

SW Hitters 17, Hugoton Jokers 5

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