Catcher Toby Semler (7) is greeted by the Bee Jays after hitting a three-run home run over the left field fence with the wind blowing in. The hit gae the Bee Jays a 13-3 lead, and Liberal went on to win the game 17-3. L&T photo/Rustin Watt
By Rustin Watt
Leader & Times
After an odd loss in the first game of Liberal’s series with El Dorado they’ve made nothing but quick work of the Broncos. Last night in a dominating performance Liberal scored 17 runs on 14 hits with some stout defense to take the series with a 17-3 win.
“I thought we played really well,” Liberal head coach Mike Silva said. “We got another quality start from Josh Smith, and they only scored in two innings. Any time you can do that to a team, you know you have a chance to win.”
Liberal started early. After two quick outs in the first they started rolling putting up three runs in the first two innings before breaking it open in the third.
Shortstop Jake Barrios hit a double to score a run before Richard Bohlken knocked in a run with a single leaving Bee Jays on the corners for Toby Semler who took a ground-rule double over the left field fence. Dean Friedberg wore a pitch to load the bases for Riley Good who pulled a hit to right field for an RBI single and re-juiced the bases. El Dorado then balked in a run before Ross Kivett reached on an infield hit to knock in a run. Frist baseman Blake Bergeron reached on an RBI single, but a questionable call ended the inning for Liberal with Kivett being called out at third on a tag. Liberal was in command 10-1 at the end of the third.
“We swung the bats really well from the start,” Silva said. “The first two guys struck out, and from that point on they made some mistakes, gave us some extra at-bats, and we took advantage of it.”
Starter Josh Smith allowed the Broncos two runs in the fourth but that would be the end of the El Dorado offense.
Semler eyed a pitch in the fourth and took it over the left-field fence for a three-run blast that put Liberal up 13-3.
“It’s contagious, good baseball is contagious,” Silva said on Semler’s home run. “We need those guys to step up. Arroyo should be done for the year. He broke his jaw. We’re losing him and other guys are going to have to step up and get the job done and they did tonight.”
Liberal was dormant until the sixth inning. With the bases loaded Ryan Walker came through with a two-RBI single up the middle. Liberal ended the inning up 17-3. The score would not change. Liberal flipped on the cruise with Josh Smith coming out and picking up the win. Curtis Washburn came in relief in the seventh and shut down El Dorado the rest of the way surrendering only one hit in his tenure on the hill.
The win moved Liberal to 14-5, 7-5 in Jayhawk play. Liberal will have the day off today before heading to Hays for a two-game bout over the weekend.
“It’ll be good,” Silva said of the day off. “We’ll get some pitchers rested up, go to Hays and try to take two ball games. We’ll throw everything we have at them while we’re there, then come back.”