WICHITA – It was the longest game in the modern wood bat era and it put the Hays Larks in the 82nd NBC World Series championship game. The Larks (43-10) raced out to a 6-0 lead then had to come back with three in the 17th inning to beat the Kansas Stars 9-6 in Friday’s semifinals at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
The Larks will take on the Santa Barbara (CA) Foresters at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Foresters beat the San Diego Force 7-6 in 12 innings.
Jacob Boston gave the Larks the lead with a single to left which scored Mike Mioduszewski. Connor Ross hit a sac fly to right which scored Alex Weiss then Micheal Burns singled to score Boston.
Daniel James (2-0) retired the final 10 batters he faced to pick up the win. James pitched eight scoreless innings of relief with six strikeouts and no walks for the win. He worked around a runner at second with no outs in the 12th then got a strikeout with the bases loaded to end the 14th.
The Larks struck for two in the first inning and four in the third and led 6-0.
The Stars, comprised primarily of former major league players, came back with four in the sixth thanks to two walks and two hit batters. They added a run in the eighth on a Ryan Langerhans two-out single then tied the game in the bottom of the ninth when Jayson Nix doubled to right and scored Brandon Inge from first base. Nix was thrown out trying to stretch the double into a triple, sending the game to extra innings.
Larks starter Keegan Curtis retired the first nine batters he faced before being chased in the sixth. Stars starter Tim Hudson gave up six runs on four hits with six walks over 2 1/3 innings.
The Larks will play in their fifth NBC World Series title game at 7 p.m. Saturday.