By EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
As far as Joe Vaskas is concerned, there's no need for a heroic finish if a team takes care of business early.
That's just what the Bee Jays did Sunday against Dodge City. And the first bomb that burst through the air was his home run shot that stayed in the air just long enough to clear the left field fence.
The hit gave the Bee Jays a 2-1 lead, and by the end of the first inning Liberal had a 4-1 lead and went on to win 6-4. It was just the kind of start Vaskas wanted.
"You have to go for the lead as quick as you can," he said. "Then you have to keep the lead. You have to start out with a bang."
His bang led to Liberal's fifth consecutive win after sweeping a two-game set from West Texas prior to the Independence Day win.
"We can't let the streak go to our heads," he said. "We have to keep playing like we have been. We have to have good at-bats, and our pitchers need to keep throwing strikes."
After giving up a first-inning run, Bee Jay pitcher Christian Kowalchuk settled in. Other than a passed ball in the second that allowed a second A's run to score, Kowalchuk did not allow another scoring opportunity.
Liberal was able to add to their lead when Mark Gomez hit an RBI single in the third and Kelby Tomlinson added an RBI double in the fourth.
Dodge managed to score two runs in the eighth off the Bee Jay bullpen, but Brandon Ward-Hersee closed out the ninth by limiting Dodge CIty to a lead-off single before recording three straight outs.
The win moved the Bee Jays to 8-6 in the Jayhawk Conference, 14-6 overall.