G.C. Elite goes winless in Kansas Grand Slam Tournament
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
The head coach of the Garden City Elite, Lyle Befort is OK with losses, as long as his team learns from the defeats.
They did quite a bit of learning this weekend.
The Legion Post No. 9 team went 0-4 at the Kansas Grand Slam Tournament in Salina, getting outscored 44-22 in the four-day wood bat event stretching from Thursday to Sunday.
"We came out of there, my pitchers came out of there learning a lot," Befort said of the pair of losses on each of Friday and Saturday that dropped the Elite to 18-8. "I'll take some losses if they learn. They learned to keep the ball down."
On Friday, the Elite fell to Ottawa, 5-4, then host Salina, 7-4. On Saturday, the Elite finished the tournament with losses to the Kansas Mud Cats, 13-3, in a run-rule shortened game, and eventual tournament champions, Millard North, 19-11.
Heading to the tournament with just 11 players, with Isiah Rodriguez, Ian Jones and Jesse Ruiz all missing the tournament — in addition to Martin Terrazes' broken hand — the Elite were short-handed as far as pitching options.
Against Millard North, the Elite led 7-2 in the third inning, but Millard's offense broke through and Befort did not have another arm to bring in to stem the tide.
"It was one of those where if you can use two to three pitchers a game, you can kind of manage it, but we couldn't do it," Befort explained. "We had no pitching left."
Millard ran away with it from there, knocking around starter Ivan Gutierrez for eight runs on seven hits in three innings, and then scoring 11 combined runs off Mario Montoya and Jacob Rivas in the next 2 2/3 innings for the mercy rule victory.
"We were hitting the crap out of (the ball)," Befort said, "but when they started hitting out pitchers, we didn't have anybody to try to shut them down."
Logan Dechant and Thomas Solorio led that offensive attack throughout the weekend, with Dechant clubbing three doubles and three RBIs on 7 for 17 at the plate, while Solorio was 6 for 13 with two doubles and four RBIs.
On the pitching end, Daniel Flores (4-1), Gutierrez (2-1), Edgar Montoya (5-1) and Daven Acker (3-3) all received losses. Though, Acker had the best start, tossing a complete game six innings, giving up just six hits. He did, however, walk seven and strike out just two.
"They know they've got to pitch better," Befort said, noting that none of them throw hard enough to get by on the quality of their pitches alone. "But, you can be dominant by moving the ball around."
The Elite will not waste much time in trying to implement some of those learned lessons, as they host Ulysses tonight at Clint Lightner Stadium for a doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m.
Befort also said there will be two new players on the team, with Scott City's Sloan Baker and Lakin's Ryder Yakel joining the squad.
"They've got to come in (today) because we're out of pitching," Befort said. "We've got enough hitters and we've got enough fielders, but we need some more arms."
Befort said Baker and Ryder will provide much of that support.
Kansas Mud Cats 103 009 -- 13 12 1
Garden City 100 110 -- 3 7 0
Horak and . Dechant, Flores(1), Rivas(6) and . W--Horak. L--Flores. 2B--Kansas, Horak, Schaake; Garden City, E Montoya, Solorio. 3B--Kansas, Peesor.
Garden City 016 220 -- 11 8 1
Millard North 116 803 -- 19 14 1
Gutierrez, Montoya(4), Rivas(4) and . Engle, Wilson(4) and . W--Engle. L--Gutierrez. 2B--Garden City, Dechant; Millard, Herold, Sisson 2, Sarver; 3B--Millard, Nelson, Stevenson.
Ottawa 100 004 0 -- 5 6 0
Garden City 000 030 1 -- 4 7 1
Jordan, Haydon(2) and Dayne. Montoya, Flores(6) and Solorio. W--Haydon. L--Montoya. 2B--Garden City, Dechant.
Garden City 000 040 0 -- 4 5 1
Salina 050 011 x -- 7 6 0
Salina statistics incomplete.
Acker and Solorio. Rowe, Unavailable(5) and Floyd. W--Rowe. L--Acker. 2B--Garden City, Dechant, Solorio.