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Bee Jays split double header, play for title tonight PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 17 July 2017 08:11


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Zac Cook catches the ball and tags out a Hays runner attempting to steal Saturday at Brent Gould Field. Liberal split the double header with the Larks, and after a Sunday rain-out, Liberal can clinch the Jayhawk League title with a win tonight. L&T photo/Earl Watt

By RUSTIN WATT

• Leader & Times

The Liberal Bee Jays took to the diamond at Brent Gould Field Saturday night against the Hays Larks to begin a three-game series that would decide the Jayhawk League champion.  Due to rain on Friday, a double-header was rescheduled for Saturday, and in a pair of seven inning games, Liberal split with Hays to set the table for Monday night’s matchup in which the winner will bring home the conference title. 

Liberal fell to Hays 8-3 in Game 1 but bounced back to win 2-1 in game two. 

The 6-feet, 4-inch Sam Beattie took the hill for Liberal in Game 1.  Hays got on the board in the first inning off a broken-bat single by Colin Simpson that set up a two-out RBI triple by Hays center fielder, Trevor Boone, that dinged off the right-center wall and put Hays up 1-0. 

In the third Hays’ Jacob Boston reached on a single to center, but a short hop in center led to an error moving Boston to second base. Boston came home off a Ke’one Givens RBI single and it was 2-0 Hays going into the bottom half of the third. A Clayton Rasbeary solo shot put Hays up 3-0 in the fourth. 

Liberal would not get on the board until the fifth when they exploded for three runs. Trent Maloney led off followed by Kyle Schmidt with both hitting line shots up the middle to put runners at first and second. Zac Cook then laid down a bunt that baffled Hays. The ball slowly rolled down the third base line and while Hays decided to let it roll thinking it would go foul, Cook reached and Maloney scored from second to get Liberal on the board. A sacrifice bunt then put Schmidt and Cook in scoring position.  Marcus Shoemaker tied things up sliding into second for a two-RBI double down the left field line.

A key moment in the game would follow off a Shoemaker steal attempt at third base. The throw to third was on time, but while the Hays third baseman appeared to miss on the tag, an out was called leaving the bases empty with two outs rather than a runner on third with one down. The inning would end with the score tied 3-3. 

There it would remain until it went to extra innings, and in the top of the eighth Hays would put it away with a five-run rally for the go-ahead 8-3 victory.

Game 2 was a pitcher’s duel that pitted Liberal’s Zach Zeller against Hays’ Alex Lopez. Zeller went the distance in the pivotal matchup.  

Both teams were shut out by the hurlers going into the bottom of the fifth. Nate Crossman broke through for the Bee Jays with a shot down the first base line that ricocheted off the Hays first baseman’s glove for a one-out single. Crossman moved into scoring position by stealing second that set up a Shoemaker RBI single to center field. Shoemaker advanced to second on the throw home and Liberal was up 1-0 with a runner in scoring position. Garret Scott was able to reach on a tough ground ball that Lopez wasn’t able to handle covering first.  The botched handling at first opened the door for Shoemaker to advance home.  Shoemaker slid by the tag by a thread to put Liberal up 2-0 and there it stayed going into the seventh and final inning.  

Zeller started the seventh forcing a groundout to first before a four-pitch walk and a single to right put Hays runners at first and third with one out. 

A meeting at the mound ensued, and it looked as though head coach Daniel Parker had made the move to bring in Chance Carner. Parker decided to let Zeller remain, and Carner made his way back to the pen as Zeller remained on the hill. 

A ball in the dirt allowed Hays to score a run and advance a runner to second with one out.  

With a runner in scoring position Zeller collected and dealt back-to-back lineouts to the outfield leaving the tying run at second to go the distance for a 2-1 Bee Jay victory. 

The win makes Monday night’s matchup the deciding factor in the Jayhawk League and is also the final game on Liberal’s docket for the regular season with Oklahoma City forfeiting the final three-game series.

A high seed in the NBC World Series Championship Week bracket lies in the balance as Liberal will take on Hays at Brent Gould Field tonight at 6 p.m.

 

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About The High Plains Daily Leader

The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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