Since 2001, the Hays Larks have only finished worse than second in the Jayhawk League once. That was in 2010 when they came in third and missed the NBC World Series. Sunday night, the Larks clinched another top-two finish with a 7-3 victory over Derby to complete the weekend sweep which included the conclusion of a suspended game from earlier in the season. The win also secures the Larks a spot in the Championship Week of the NBC World Series in Wichita.
Frank Leo Postgame Interview
Evan Gruener had three hits including a home run and drove in two and Zair Koeiman added two doubles and scored two runs helping the Larks secure second place with their fifth straight win.
Spencer Applebach pitched three scoreless innings of relief for the win. DJ Carr worked a perfect ninth of his third save. Starter Blake Roley allowed two runs on two hits but left in the fourth with a back injury. He’s to be evaluated on Monday.
The Larks struck early scoring two in the first on a Tyler Detmer single and Derek Birginske double play ball. They added two more in the second on a Nate Olinger sacrifice bunt and Aaron Cornell double.
Derby cut the lead in half with two in the fourth, but the Larks answered when Zair Koeiman doubled to lead off the bottom of the inning. He scored on Evan Gruener’s single. The Larks added another run in the fifth. Both teams scored a run in the eighth, the Larks on an Evan Gruener homer.
Hays has won five straight to move 12-games over 500 (25-13) and six-games over 500 in league play (19-13).
They are back in action Monday night in Dodge City before returning home for a pair of non-league games Tuesday and Wednesday against Junction City then host Dodge City Thursday to close out the regular season.
Elsewhere in Jayhawk League play Sunday… Wellington sweeps Liberal 7-6 and has won five of their last six… Dodge City salvages the final game of the series with El Dorado 5-2.