By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
Liberal blew a 10-2 lead after a strong start by Justin Schnedler and needed a dramatic finish in the 12th to earn an 11-10 win over Hays Wednesday at Brent Gould Field.
Hays cut Liberal’s 10-2 lead to 10-7 in the top of the eighth inning while the Bee Jay bullpen struggled to get outs.
The Larks tied the game in the top of the ninth when Derrick Mount hit a three-run shot over the left field fence that gave the Larks eight runs in the final two innings.
The frustration boiled over for Bee Jay manager Adam Anderson in the 9th after the home run when he thought the Bee Jays had picked off a runner at second, but when the umpire signaled safe, he charged out and after a verbal tirade was tossed.
Ryan Scott took the mound for the Bee Jays and kept the Larks from adding any more runs in the ninth, and he kept Hays scoreless through the 11th.
Neither team created a scoring opportunity in the 10th or 11th, and Chad Nack relieved Scott in the 12th and kept Hays from scoring.
Cody Erickson led off the 12th with a double, and after Kyle Lieser struck out, Hays intentionally walked Alec Isaac. Zach Reding followed with a walk to load the bases with one out. Brady Cox fell behind quickly in the next at-bat, and with a pitch well outside, Cox attempted a swing and struck out, but the Hays catcher couldn’t make the catch, and the ball sailed to the wall. With the bases loaded, Cox could not attempt to run to first, but Erickson headed home from third. The Hays catcher threw back to the Hays pitcher who covered home, and instead of tagging Erickson stepped on home as if it was a force play.
The home plate umpire called Erickson out, and assistant coach Mike Shepherd came out to discuss that the play was not a force. The home plate umpire visited with the field umpire, and after the discussion, Erickson was called safe at home to give the Bee Jays the 11-10 win.
The win ended a three-game losing streak at home for the Bee Jays and moved them into fourth place in the Jayhawk League, a half game ahead of El Dorado and two-and-a-half behind Hays.
The Bee Jays will play at home again at 7 p.m. tonight against last place Dodge City before starting a four-game road trip including three at first-place Wellington Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and then a single game in Dodge City June 26.