SALINA – After an opening-round win at the American Legion Class A State Tournament, the Atchison Junior A’s bats fell mostly silent. Defensive miscues didn’t help, either.

Atchison lost to Arkansas City in the winner’s bracket, 8-1, on Wednesday.

The A’s fell behind early. Ark City earned two walks to begin the game against Atchison starting pitcher Kevin Lykins. While one walk was erased on a ground ball, two runs managed to score in the inning – one of which came in thanks to an Atchison error.

Hunter Ostertag walked to lead off the bottom of the first for Atchison. Ostertag had been a menace on the base paths for teams all season, but Ark City’s catcher was up to the challenge, throwing Ostertag out at second on a steal attempt, erasing a first-inning threat before it really materialized.

Ark City would add single runs in the second, third and fourth innings. Atchison’s lone bright spot on offense came in the bottom of the fourth.

Adam Smith singled and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Noah Baniewicz to cut the Ark City lead to 5-1. It would be the only run of the game for Atchison.

Ark City was held scoreless in the fifth and sixth, but tacked on three more runs in the seventh inning.

The A’s threatened to score in the bottom of the frame, but a strong defensive play ended the game.

Sean Mason, who pitched the final 4.1 innings for Atchison, singled to start the inning. After a strikeout, Augie Scholz laced a line drive into the outfield but the Ark City center fielder made a diving catch, came to his feet and doubled Bryce Enzbrenner – running for Mason – off of first base for the third out.

The loss sent Atchison to the loser’s bracket and a Thursday tilt against rival Doniphan County.

Ark City went on to win the state tournament.

Adam Gardner can be reached at adam.gardner@npgco.com.

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