By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
Mistakes in the field and on the bases were too much for the Bee Jays in the final two games of the weekend series with Wellington.
Seven errors Saturday led to a 12-2 loss, and base running mistakes Sunday contributed to a 6-2 loss that dropped Liberal to fifth place in the Jayhawk League.
By the time the final out of the weekend was recorded, the Bee Jays committed 13 errors that lit up the scoreboard. Other mistakes that didn’t show up in lights included two baserunning mistakes and a passed ball that ended in a run for the Heat.
The weekend series loss prevented the Bee Jays from moving up in the standings and allowed Wellington to tie Derby for third.
The Heat started early, scoring four runs in the first two innings while the Bee Jay batters struggled at the plate.
Hayden Howard adjusted after the first two innings and was able to prevent the Heat from scoring in the third and fourth innings, but a rough fifth sent Howard to the dugout, and the Heat added three more runs to take a 7-0 lead.
Liberal scored two in the bottom of the fifth, but the rally ended there. The bullpen, which had been reliable for the Bee Jays most of the summer, faltered, allowing five more runs to score as the Heat became more aggressive on the bases.
The 12-2 loss left the Bee Jays looking to win the series on Sunday in the rubber game, and for the first three innings it appeared that Liberal was on its way to do just that.
The Bee Jays scored a run in the bottom of the first when Dylan Delso hit an RBI double to left field that scored Lewis Guilbeau.
In the third, Zach Reding hit an RBI single to give the Bee Jays a 2-0 lead. Liberal had runners at the corners after a pop out to short, and Reding attempted to take second when the Heat threw the ball back to the pitcher but was thrown out to end the inning.
“Zach (Reding) was trying to make something happen,” Liberal coach Brandon Kitch said. “I appreciated the effort, but it was the wrong time. It ran us out of an inning.”
Austin King limited the Heat to one hit thorugh the first four innings.
But the Bee Jay offense disappeared after Reding’s baserunning mistake in the third, and the Heat were able to tie the game in the top of the fifth.
Wellington added two more in the sixth, and that chased King off the mound. The Heat scored two more in the top of the eighth.
Liberal had the bases loaded with one out in the sixth but failed to score.
Austin Murphy was also thrown out after getting too big of a lead at second later in the game.
Liberal was only outhit 8-6, but lost 6-2.
“We have to stay focused for nine innings,” Kitch said. “There is not anyone that much better than us. We beat ourselves due to baserunning mistakes, errors, not pitching. Once we put it together for consecutive days, we will be really good.”