By EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
In the movie, “Major League,” Bob Uecker said that the first batter was an indicator of how the entire season was going to go for the hapless Cleveland Indians.
But if his saying is true, the Liberal Bee Jays can expect great things this season.
Aaron Mees led off for the Bee Jays and hit a single for the first hit of the season for Liberal. He later scored Liberal’s first run of the year as well in a 22-7 thrashing of the Colorado Bombers Friday at Brent Gould Field.
Mees was joined in the slugfest by the rest of the Bee Jays up and down the line-up in the rout.
The season-opening win was the first for Liberal in three years.
Lead-off hits, hits with runners in scoring position, two-out hits, whatever the Bee Jays wanted they were getting.
The highlight hit of the night came off the bat of Joe Perez who took a second-pitch fast ball and bounced it off the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning. It was Perez’ second hit in the inning. He led off the eight-run second inning with a single and a stolen base and trotted home after a walk forced him from third.
His two-RBI blast over left center field gave the Bee Jays an 11-4 lead.
“I took a first pitch curve,” Perez said of his home run at-bat. “The next pitch I was expecting fast ball.”
The large, but mostly quiet, opening day crowd rose to its feet with the towering blast.
Prior to the home run, Joe Vaskas cleared the bases with a three-RBI double, and Randall Packard added an RBI single.
In the third, Mees and Richard Bohlken each doubled and Packard added another RBI single to increase the Bee Jay lead to 14-4.
Three more runs in the fourth and five more in the sixth led to the 22-7 win.
John Niggli was the starting pitcher for the Bee Jays and earned the first win.
“It was a good season opener,” Perez said. “We had a great crowd, and we’ve had people come out and watch us at practice. The community has been very supportive.”
The series with the Bombers continued late Saturday night and the Colorado Renegades will face the Bee Jays Sunday and Monday. All games begin at 7 p.m. at Brent Gould Field and are free of charge.