By Rustin Watt
Leader & Times
The Bee Jays jumped out to a 6-0 lead on the El Dorado Broncos early in Wednesday night’s contest at Brent Gould Field and didn’t look back as they took the game, 12-4.
“We played really well defensively,” Liberal head coach Mike Silva said. “And we had quality pitching on the mound. Offensively we did a really good job. It is good to see that type of offensive production, but if we get quality starts I think we’re a tough team to beat.”
Liberal put up two quick runs in the first, and starter Kasey Merck had a shutout through four innings. The Bee Jays provided more run support for Merck in the third.
“I don’t think these guys felt a sense of urgency or pressure, they just came out and played well,” Silva said. “We got a quality start form Kasey. He gave us five innings with a lead. We came out and jumped on them early. We got some hits with guys in scoring position that we haven’t been getting the nights before, but that’s part of this game if you play it long enough.”
With the bases loaded in the third, Ryan Walker stepped in and blew it open with a three-RBI double before first baseman Blake Bergeron knocked in Walker with a single to give Liberal a 6-0 lead.
“These guys want to win,” Silva said. “They came out tonight like they do every night — ready to win — and we got some breaks. Walker had big hit with the bases loaded that broke the thing open early and that let us sit back and relax and play the way we’re capable of playing.”
El Dorado wouldn’t have an answer until the fifth with three runs coming off four hits.
Edwin Arroyo responded with a two RBI single in the fifth to give the Bee Jays an 8-3 lead.
Jared Moore came in to relieve Merck in the sixth and despite surrendering three hits in his first inning of action, Moore was able to get out of the inning only allowing one run, the last of the night for the Broncos.
Third baseman Richard Bohlken sent a Bronco pitch over the left field fence for a two-run homer to put Liberal back up, 10-4.
Walker recorded his fourth RBI on the night in the seventh with a double to right center that scored Arroyo. Greg McCall plated the last run with a double off the left field fence to score Jake Barrios, and Liberal ended the three-game slide with a 12-4 win with the help of 15 Bee Jay hits.
Liberal moved to 13-5, 6-5 in the Jayhawk League. The rubber game of the series with El Dorado is at Brent Gould Field tonight with KSCB the buyout sponsor.
“We’re real confident,” Silva said. “We have Josh Smith on the mound, and he’s been really good for us all year. We expect a really good start from him . We want to take the series.”