The Hays Eagles are back to back state champions of the American Legion AAA State Tournament.
Hays took on Newton who advanced to the finals with a 18-12 win that took three and half hours. Almost out of pitching and having played two games in the past 16 hours the Knights looked to piece together a win using a new pitcher every two innings.
Each Newton and Hays scored one run in the first inning. Hays caught their first break in the bottom of the second inning. With runners on second and third, Clayton Basgall laced a ground ball to the Newton short stop. The ensuing throw sailed over the first base plating two Eagle runs. Hays followed that up with two additional runs to lead 5-1 after two innings.
Newton responded with six consecutive singles in the top of the fourth to tie the game at five. Hays scored two more in the bottom of the fourth take a 7-6 lead and never trailed again. Newton pulled the score to 7-6 after five, but three more in the bottom of the sixth inning gave Hays their second four run lead at 10-6.
The Eagles went on for an 11-8 win and went a perfect 4-0 in the state tournament. Hays had 14 hits, let by the three of Dan Bittel. Bittel also plated a high three runs. Chandler Rule was given an award for the highest batting average in the tournament, going 12-19.
Marcus Altman picks up the win going five innings and allowing six runs. Brady Bieker earned the save with four innings of work allowing just two runs and five hits.
The Eagles advance to the Regional Tournament held at North Little Rock Arkansas starting on Thursday. Hays will play the first game on Thursday at 9:30 against the state champion from Mississippi.
Postgame: Brad Kelly Postgame 8-3-13