Trailing by a run in the ninth inning with two outs, the Bee Jays put together a heroic effort to tie the game and then take the lead. But the game wasn’t secure until Cale Elam took the mound in the bottom of the ninth and sent a message to Haysville. That message, Game over, with Liberal taking the 5-4 ninth inning victory.
By Rustin Watt
Leader & Times
“Big time players, make big time plays, in big time games.” Mike Shanahan said about Tatum Bell following a great performance, and many coaches have made similar comments about great players.
The same can be said for the Bee Jays Ryan Walker who stepped in to the batter’s box in the ninth inning in a tie game with two outs and a runner in scoring position. Walker took advantage of his opportunity to come through in the clutch by hitting a frozen-rope RBI single, and the Bee Jays took a 5-4 lead.
Cale Elam came in and shut down Haysville in the bottom of the ninth to win a thriller, 5-4.
“This was a big win for us,” Liberal head coach Mike Silva said. “Already the third one-run game of the season and to take it like that was huge for us.”
In the eighth it appeared that destiny was on the side of the Bee Jays when Liberal tied the game 3-3 without a hit. Trailing by one with two outs, Edwin Arroyo walked and then stole second. Two pitches later, Arroyo attempted to steal third, and the Haysville catcher missed the pitch. Arroyo rounded third and headed home. He slid in safely to tie the game.
But the Heat went ahead 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth.
Liberal had the three, four and five hitters to lead off the ninth, but Blake Bergeron struck out. Jake Barrios turned what should have been a single into a double. Reyn Nagamine stepped in and struck out after a passed ball moved Barrios to third.
With two outs Dean Friedberg hit a single to right-center field that scored Barrios and tied the game.
Catcher Toby Semler was next at the plate and reached on a walk to move Friedberg into scoring position for Ryan Walker.
Walker hit a single to score Friedberg and put Liberal up 5-4.
Haysville came up searching for their own retribution before finding Bee Jays closer Elam. Elam brought the heat to the Heat. After retiring the first two batters, the third reached on a two-strike single.
There would not be another.
Elam struck out the final Haysville batter to preserve the one-run win.
Liberal moved to 12-2, 5-2 in Jayhawk play to remain in first place.
Liberal faced Haysville Saturday in Haysville before playing again Sunday to finish the three-game series.
“I will be excited to see if we can come in and take the series,” Silva said. “That’s all we’re looking at. We’re just looking to take it one day at a time.”
Patrick Shreve made the start for the Bee Jays Saturday. In Shreve’s last outing he went the distance in a seven-inning affair with Derby allowing only one run. Sunday’s game begins at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on KSCB Talkradio 1270 AM.
Ryan Walker gets a hit against Hays earlier this week. Walker stepped to the plate in the ninth inning with two outs in a tie game and hit an RBI single Friday in Haysville to give the Bee Jays a 5-4 win over the Heat.
L&T file photo/Rustin Watt
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