By DUSTIN ARMBRUSTER
Hays 7 – Word of Life 6 (8 inn.)
If the opening game of the 2014 Western Plains Diamond Classic is any indication as to how the next three games to go, fans are in for a treat this year. The Hays High Indians defeated Word of Life 7-6 in eight innings to open up the three days of baseball games.
Word of Life held a 1-0 lead on a fielding error in the top of the second inning until Marcus Altman sent a towering solo home run over the left field fence to tie the game at 1-1. Starting pitcher Layne Downing gave the Indians their first lead of the game with a 2-run home run in the bottom of the fourth. Downing was pretty much on cruise control until he ran into a bases loaded jam in the top of fourth when Jazz Chisholm gave the Fire a 5-3 lead with grand slam homerun.
Jared Haynes scored in the bottom of the sixth and then was matched by a single run by Word of Life in the top of the seventh to set up a 6-4 lead for the Fire heading to the bottom of the seventh.
Hays loaded the bases on a hit by pitch, single and walk with now outs. Dalton Stout grounded into a double play but was able to plate Marcus Altman and move pinch runner Adam Klaus to third. Still trailing 6-5 Trenton Henningson sent a hard ground ball towards right field that was cut off by first baseman Jack Halloran. Holloran dove for first base in an attempt to record the third out, but dropped the baseball allowing Henningson to reach safely and Klaus to score from third to tie the game 6-6.
Kade Parker then relieved Downing on the mound for the top of the eighth needing just ten pitches to get through four batters. In the bottom of the eighth, Jared Haynes walked to open the inning and moved to second base on a one out single by Cole Schumacher. Altman lined out to left field, bringing Parker to the plate. Parker sent his fourth hit of the game to left field, scoring Haynes from second and giving the Indians the 7-6 victory.
Parker (4-1) picks up the win in relief. Derrick Begane (2-2) takes the loss in relief, allowing a run in the eighth inning.
Hays will face Great Bend at 7:00 Thursday night to cap off the first day of the 2014 Western Plains Diamond Classic. The game can be heard on 96.9 KFIX.
Frank Leo Postgame Interview
Hays 16 – Great Bend 6 (6 inn.)
Hays High had no problem in their second game of the Diamond Classic beating Great Bend 16-6 in six innings. Hays scored in all but one of the six innings, scoring 3 in the first, 6 in the second, 1 in each the third and fourth, and five runs in the sixth inning. Using a twenty hit attack, the Indians led 10-0 after three innings, but Great Bend was able to extend the game scoring two runs in the fourth and four runs in the sixth.
The Panthers used four different pitchers in the defeat. Anson Hall takes the loss for Great Bend. Cole Shumacher moves his record to 3-0 pitching all six innings, allowing 6 runs on 8 hits, striking out seven and walking two.
The Hays offense was highlighted by Marcus Altman’s four hits including his second home run of the tournament. Each of the ten Indians that batted recorded a hit.
Hays has won eight games in a row and improve their record to 11-5. Great Bend falls to 7-8.
It was also throwback Thursday for the Indians as they wore uniforms from 1981, the first year that Coach Frank Leo and pitching coach Keith Harper started coaching Hays High.
The Indians next action in the tournament will be against Salina Central at 7:15 on Friday night.