By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
The Bee Jay roster continues to change to fill holes left by injuries and departures, and two new players were able to contribute in a 10-0 win over the Boulder, Colo., Collegians Monday at Brent Gould Field.
Tyler Floyd came to play catcher for the Bee Jays after Dylan Delso left the team to focus on his defensive game.
Floyd was able to hold his own behind the plate as well as contribute on the bases. Floyd was abel to steal some bases and scored when a throw to catch him stealing third ended up in left field.
The Bee Jays also started a new shortstop. Paul Garcia joined the team to try to help the struggling defense, and while the Bee Jays had marked improvement, he did commit the lone error of the game with an overthrow to first on a ground ball.
But Cody Tillotson was able to pitch around the mistake and had a dominating performance on the mound.
Tillotson threw six innings of shutout baseball and only gave up one hit.
During the slump, Liberal struggled to get quality starts, but in the las tow games the starters have been able to pitch shutouts at least into the fifth inning.
Tillotson shined, striking out eight and getting routine grounders and pop flies for his defense.
The Bee Jays had two runners thrown out, one on a steal attempt and the other on a large lead from second, but the aggression has been a part of manager Brandon Kitch’s strategy over the past two summers.
And he wasn’t all that sure that Seth Stevens was out.
“Seth was safe,” Kitch said. “I think the umpires wanted to get out of here. We were ahead, so there was no reason to argue. But we have to be smart on the bases.”
Liberal jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second inning with solid hitting couple with two Boulder miscues in the field.
The Bee Jays continued to push out, adding single runs in the fourth and the sixth innings.
In the bottom of the seventh, Liberal was able to score three more runs to end the game via the run rule.
“Cody had a good start tonight,” Kitch said.
Tyler Wiedenfeld, Liberal’s most successful starter of the summer, came in relief for the final innings and was able to keep the Collegians handcuffed at the plate.
The dominating win was needed for a team that struggled on a long road trip in the Jayhawk League followed by a 1-2 weekend performance against Wellington.
After the potent Liberal offense was shackled to only two runs on Saturday and Sunday, the 10 runs and 11 hits was a welcome sign for Kitch.
“It gives guys at the plate some confidence,” he said. “It gives the pitching staff some work. It can go the other way — guys struggling who strike out can have a reverse effect.”
But for most of the night, the Bee Jays were putting the ball in play and taking advantage of runners in scoring position, something they did not do over the weekend against the Heat.
The Bee jays will play one more game against the Collegians before hosting the Dodge City A’s Wednesday. The A’s won their first league series over the weekend.
Kitch wants to see the same outing tonight.
“We need to come out the same way,” Kitch said. “(Justin) Schnedler will throw for us, hopefully offense will put up some runs for him. We need some confidence. We have shot ourselves in the foot a lot. We need to get some confidence before we face Dodge.”
Tonight’s game begins at 7 p.m.