April 15, 2024

Same old song and dance; Elite lose in title game at Clanton

Garden City, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-Three years ago, Lyle Befort led his Finney County Blues into the championship game of the 27th annual Clanton Memorial Baseball Tournament. Little did he know, it was the start of a trend he would rather have not set. 

Three years later, Befort’s team was back in the title game of the region’s most prestigious summer classic. And once again, the result was the same. 

Ryder Yakel’s throwing error in the bottom of the 7th allowed the winning run to score, giving the Liberal Rattlers a 3-2 victory over the Elite. It was the third consecutive season that Garden City lost in the championship contest. 

“We lost this game right from the start,” Befort said. “We spotted them two runs and just could never do anything offensively. We have to be better.”

But this was game was defined by call that was never made. 

With a runner at first and no one out, the Rattlers laid down a sacrifice bunt. Yakel’s throw to first appeared to beat the runner by at least two feet. But the umpire called the runner safe. 

“I don’t know what they saw,” Befort said. “And these guys have been doing this for a long time. So I have no idea.”

On the next play, Yankel threw wide of first, giving the Rattlers a dramatic one-run victory. 

“It’s sad that the game ended on that note, but like I said, we lost it a lot earlier than that one play,” Befort said. 

Garden City Elite Scores

Elite 2, Liberal 1

Elite 10, Colby 2

Elite 4, Goodland 2

Lamar 9, Elite 6

Elite 5, Hooker 0

Liberal 3, Elite 2

16 and under

Semifinals: GC Red Hawks 2, Liberal 0

Finals: Widefield, CO 6, GC Red Hawks 3