Cody Gougler’s bases-loaded single in the bottom of the 12th scored pinch runner Clay Thomas as the Hays Larks rally for a 6-5 win over the Crestwood (IL) Panthers in the first-round of the 77th National Baseball Congress World Series at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita.
Pinch-hitter MacKenzie Handel started the inning with a solid single to center. Sean Wilson was intentianally walked. Elvin Rodriguez advanced the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt. Aaron Cornell was intentionally walked setting up Gougler’s heroics.
The Larks rallied from a couple of three-run deficits, trailing 4-1 and 5-2. Starter Justin Ziegler gave up all five Crestwood runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings. Relievers Matt Schmit, Vince Littleman and Micheal Burchett held them in check the rest of the way with 8 1/3 scoreless innings.
Michael Burchett pitched a season-long four innings for his first win of the season, striking out four and walking run.
Cam Brown drove in two runs including the tying run in the eighth.
The win moves the Larks into the second round where they will play the winner of the C.G. (AZ) Cotton Kings/Seattle (WA) Studs sometime Thursday.
Listen to Larks manager Frank Leo’s postgame interview