By RUSTIN WATT
• Daily Leader
The Bee Jay’s got off to a slow start Monday but rallied for a 12-3 win over Junction City in a non-league game.
A three-run homer by Mike Greco in the sixth led the way in a four- run inning and paved the way for the seventh where Liberal put up five more and two later in the eighth to cruise to their third consecutive win.
“I knew I hit it good and got good contact,” Greco said. “I thought it was going to travel a little farther, but we finally brought all our bats at once. We’ve been hot and cold but we started getting the lead-off man on and hitting together.”
Junction City struck first, scoring a run in the second and adding two more in the fourth to go up 3-0. But that was the last of any offensive production they had on the night.
The first Bee Jay run came in the fourth. Tanner Rindels hit the center field fence for a stand-up double to lead off the inning.
Greco followed with a single to put runners at first and third with no outs. A pop-out to third base in foul territory was followed by a deep sacrifice fly by Chris Kersten to score Rindels. Liberal headed to the fifth trailing 3-1.
The Bee Jays got the sticks going in a huge sixth.
After Rindels walked to load the bases, a passed ball scored a runner and left Liberal with runners at second and third with no outs. Greco followed with a three-run shot to left that bounced off the top of the fence to give the Bee Jays a 5-3 lead.
The Bee Jays put the nail in the coffin in the seventh.
Greco recorded his fourth RBI of the night when he knocked in Will Baez on a single to put Liberal runners on first and second with one out. Alex Williams moved Rindels from second to third on a sacrifice fly, and Rindels later scored on a passed ball. Kersten hit a shot to short and beat out the throw to first. Junctions City’s first baseman thought the Kersten was the third out and tossed the ball back to the mound. Greco ran off Kersten’s hit and rounded third to come home.
Junction City’s pitcher had to retrieve the throw form his first baseman and attempt a throw to the plate, but Greco came in under the tag for another Bee Jay run.
Justin Gordey hit a shot in the gap for a double that scored Kersten.
Bryce Baugh then hit a routine fly ball but neither of Junction City’s left or center fielder called off the other and the ball landed safely between them which allowed Baugh to reach second and Gordey to score.
The five-run seventh put Liberal ahead by seven, 10-3.
The Bee Jays added two more insurance runs in the eighth and went on to win their third consecutive game, 12-3.
“That’s why we play nine innings and nothing less,” Hargrove said.
“We were hitting the ball hard early, just right at them, and they were making plays and doing good things. Their pitcher started to get tired and we got to him and had some good at bats. Greco had a great night for us.”
The Bee Jays will look for their fourth consecutive win when they face Junction City.
Bob Cerv will be honored at tonight’s game at Brent Gould Field. Cerv played in the famous 1961 New York Yankee outfield when Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle were chasing Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record.
Cerv, Maris and Mantle all shared an apartment during the famous season. Cerv also managed the Bee Jays when Hargrove played in 1972 and earned a national championship for Liberal in 1979.
Admission to tonight’s game is free, courtesy of the Daily Leader