Brandon Granger tosses a pitch Monday against Hugoton. Granger threw 11 strike outs and gave up two runs, and the Redskins knocked off the Eagles 7-5.
Daily Leader photo/Earl Watt
By EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
A quick start and a key double play in the seventh inning keyed a season-opening victory for the Liberal Redskins over Hugoton, 7-5 at the Liberal Baseball Complex.
A number of Liberal Redskins are coming of age, having played varsity baseball since they were freshmen and are now junior and seniors.
“We have a lot of leadership,” Olmstead said. “They take care of their own on the field. I don’t have to say a lot.”
Brandon Granger had a strong start on the mound, throwing five innings and keeping the Eagles off the bases most of the time. Granger struck out 11 in his start and held Hugoton to two runs.
While Granger was keeping the Eagles in the dugout, the Redskin batters were getting the job done on the bases, and the scoring started early.
The first batter of the season for the Redskins was Jose Pando, and he started with a double.
Freddie Gomez followed with a single, and a passed ball scored Pando when Granger was at the plate.
Austen Pitts singled to load the bases, and Tyson Deaton hit an RBI single to give the Redskins an early 2-0 lead.
Liberal built the lead to 4-0 in the third when Pitts legged out an infield single, and Deaton connected on a shallow single to center. Kyle Potts hit a sacrifice that scored Pitts, and Bryan Morris laid down a well-executed sacrifice bunt that scored Deaton.
Hugoton picked up a run in the top of the fourth when a short bloop landed just out of the reach of first baseman Deaton. A passed ball and a sacrifice moved the runner to third, and a sacrifice fly scored the run for the Eagles.
But the Redskins countered with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth on a two-out, two-RBI single by Deaton for a 6-1 Liberal lead.
Daulton Holder singled in the top of the fifth and later scored on a passed ball to give Liberal a 7-2 lead.
Granger was relieved by Deaton in the sixth, and the Eagles were able to get a run to make the score 7-3.
But the lead was in jeopardy in the seventh when Hugoton plated two runs and had a runner at first with only one out.
Deaton was able to get Hugoton’s Campos to hit a soft shot to Pots at short who tagged second base and sent a shot to first for the double play to end the game.
“I don;t think we hit the ball well enough,” Liberal coach Eric Olmstead said. “Granger did outstanding on the mound. We need to work on our team defense.”