By EARL WATT • Daily Leader
Tanner Rindels has been doing everything he can to help the Bee Jays win.
Tuesday in El Dorado was no different.
The left-handed center fielder hit a three-run homer, scored on a passed ball and gunned down an El Dorado Bronco who tried to advance to third after Rindels caught a fly ball.
But the Bee Jay pitching couldn’t support Rindels efforts in an 11-4 Jayhawk League road loss in the tiny confines of El Dorado’s ballpark.
Logan Odom struggled on the mound, giving up five runs in the first two innings before being relieved by Roland Ochoa.
Rindels’ three-run shot made it 5-3, but Ochoa gave up a three-run blast in the third, and El Dorado coasted the rest of the way to the win.
Ochoa finished out the game and pitched four scoreless innings before fielding errors led to three more El Dorado runs late.
“We should have been out of the inning in the ninth, but we botched a double play ball, and they scored three more,” Liberal pitching coach Galen McSpadden said. “They threw three pretty good arms at us.”
Liberal has been getting quality starts, but middle relief has been an issue.
Tuesday night’s game was the opposite.
McSpadden thought that Rindels home run put the Bee Jays back in the game, but the three-run shot in the third by the Broncos was the back- breaker.
“He got two quick outs, then walked two before giving up the homer,”
McSpadden said. “That was the deciding factor.”
Liberal has had to use the shorthanded pitching staff more often. The Bee Jays won’t receive the services of Christian Kowalchuk who was expected to join the pitching staff but has to attend summer school at the University of Arkansas.
“We are thin right now on the mound,” McSPadden said. “ We are looking for a few more arms. We’re chasing a couple more.”
Don Lisi will get the start today for the Bee Jays with conditions favoring another day of home-run balls in the small park in El Dorado.
Center field is 25-feet shorter than Brent Gould Field.
“This is a small porch,” McSpadden said. “Fly balls get out of here.
We hit a couple of easy outs that went against the wall. Nothing is safe, you need a well-pitched game.”
Due to the limited size of the pitching staff, the Bee Jays may have to go to position players Will Alvis and Alex Williams for some relief work. Mitch Caster is available and has been a solid closer, but he also plays in the field.
“Caster is definitely our closer,” McSpadden said. “He did that for Wichita State. He throws hard, and he wants to pitch. I have to watch out and not overuse him. He may get a break today.”
Steven Tucker and Torrey Jacoby may also receive a days’ rest today as well.
Resting players during play will be critical over the next three weeks. Liberal does not have a scheduled day off until July 8.
El Dorado, on the other hand, is coming off of a five-day break.
“They have whole staff ready, drooling, trying to find games,”
McSpadden said. “And they have a full, rested pitching staff.”
Tonight’s game begins at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast locally on 1270 AM.
Liberal returns to Brent Gould Field Thursday to face the Colorado Bombers.