Reyn Nagamine hits a home run earlier this season. Nagamine had a five-hit weekend at Hays including a home run and two doubles to help the Liberal Bee Jays sweep a two-game series from the Larks and move into first place in the Jayhawk League. L&T photo/Rustin Watt
By RUSTIN WATT
• Leader & Times
After losing shortstop Kelby Tomlinson to the draft and second baseman Eddie Arroyo to a broken jaw, the Bee Jays lost another infielder Thursday in a riding accident. Third baseman Richard Bohlken suffered a broken ankle that ended his summer. Despite all these losses Liberal still took two from Hays over the weekend to move into first place in the competitive Jayhawk League standings.
“Over the past week, Eddie (Arroyo) broke his jaw, and Richard (Bohlken)’s injury too. Those are two big losses,” Liberal’s Reyn Nagamine said. “They added a lot of chemistry to the team and we’re going to miss those guys, and will later on. But it’s something we have to overcome as a ball club.”
Saturday night Liberal went to Hays and after a Nagamine homer were up 7-0 in the fifth. Patrick Shreve got the nod on the hill and gave up three runs in the sixth, but earned the 9-3 win.
After six, Brent Harrison picked up the seventh and eighth before Cale Elam closed it out in the ninth.
Nagamine had another RBI in the sixth. Ross Kivett and Jake Barrios also had strong nights at the plate with three hits each.
Liberal took another from Hays in a 13-5 road win Sunday. Rusty Divett started for Liberal and went six innings before Harrison came in relief, and Elam closed it out in the ninth.
Nagamine was three-for-six with two doubles and an RBI, despite nearly not being able to make the trip.
“We had the day off Friday, and I wasn’t feeling well,” Nagamine said. “I was debating making the trip, but I got here and just tried to help my team out. Above all, I just try to keep it simple by telling myself ‘hit the ball hard somewhere.’ Hitting is difficult as it is, so I try to make it as simple as I can, and if I don’t hit the ball hard somewhere, we have a lot of good players, and I know that guy behind me will.”
Former Saint Quay Grant joined Liberal this weekend for the injured Bohlken.
“He’s solid defensively,” Silva said. “He’s also a switch hitter and good at the plate. We’re glad to have him.”
Liberal moved to 16-5 overall and 9-5 in the Jayhawk.
“We’ve got quality starts in our last four games,” Silva said. “Anytime we can do that and hit the ball like we have, we’re really tough to beat. We did a great job of no free passes, walks, errors, hit batters, free opportunities, that’s what got us in trouble in that first game with El Dorado. But anytime you get a win on the road is big.”
Liberal will take on the Greeley Grays for an out-of-league series tonight, Tuesday, and Wednesday before meeting up with Dodge Thursday for league action.