Braves fall in state semifinals
The Bonner Springs Braves advanced to the semifinals of the 3&2 Baseball Club of Johnson County 18-and-under baseball state tournament on Sunday.
Originally, each team was guaranteed three games of pool play before entering the single-elimination semifinals and finals. Unfortunately for the Braves, they only played in two games after thunderstorms washed out Saturday's action.
On Friday night the Braves defeated the eventual winner of the tournament, Olathe East, by a score of 3-2. They used a potent combination of power pitching and great defense to secure the victory. Austin Anderson threw a two-hitter and struck out nine batters, while the defense turned three double plays.
The Braves led 3-0 before surrendering two runs in the seventh inning. Luke Terrell led the way on offense by chalking the only hits for the Braves as he went 2-2 at the plate with a RBI. He also scored what turned out to be the game-winning run when Dalton Vitt laid down a bunt on a suicide-squeeze play.
"Whenever runners got on we scored them; we did the small things right," coach Dave Terrell said. "It was a big win for us. The kids' (spirits) were up after the game."
With that win, Bonner advanced out of their pool and went on to the semifinals in the rain-shortened tournament where they met the Blue Valley West Jaguars.
After falling behind early, they rallied late but came up short in a 7-5 loss in six innings.
Chance Crawford pitched well, but similar to the school year, the Braves fell apart on defense, committing four costly errors. Despite that, Bonner fought back by plating three runs in the sixth, slicing the deficit to two runs with the tying runs in scoring position before having the side retired. Anderson, Kyle Day and Chris Smith all finished with two hits.
Coach Terrell thought that one more inning was what his players needed, because they were brimming with confidence.
The Braves ended the summer season with a record of 6-9, with nine games being rained out.
"The kids only getting to play 15 games was a little disappointing; it's a nice sample but just not enough," Terrell said. "You want them to play 30 to 40 games over the summer. The bats were starting to come alive and they were able to compete with the 6A schools."