By RANDY GONZALES
Hays Larks manager Frank Leo knows the key to success at the National Baseball Congress World Series often times is good starting pitching and timely hitting.
With the season finale just a few weeks away, Hays had both on display in Saturday night's Jayhawk League game against Dodge City at Larks Park. Six different Larks drove in runs and starter Kurt Wunderlich tossed five shutout innings in Hays' 13-5 win over Dodge City.
Wunderlich (4-0) had a one-hitter through five innings before getting into trouble in the sixth, allowing Dodge City (11-21 overall, 3-20 Jayhawk) to score five runs in the inning.
"He lot a little bit of focus," Leo said. "Big lead, some soft hits, left some pitches up."
But the first five innings were the Wunderlich Leo has come to expect to see on the mound.
"Kurt's been solid for us," Leo said of the right-hander.
Three Hays relievers combined for three shutout innings to finish up.
The hitters did their part, too.
After taking a 1-0 lead in the first on Josh Garcia's RBI grounder, Hays (19-11, 12-10) scored nine runs in the third. The Larks got RBI singles from Andrew Heck and Joe Huwer, and a two-run double from Jason Morris to finish Dodge City starter Kelvin Colon. After A's reliever Evan Cunningham surrendered a run-scoring single to Rick Devereaux, Ollie Goulder capped the big inning with a two-run homer deep to left field.
"We had some big hits," Leo said. "First time in a while we put some at-bats together in the order. Good to see that happen."
Garcia added a two-run homer over the 349 sign in left-center in the fourth, and Devereaux hit another RBI single in the sixth.
Garcia finished with three RBIs in the cleanup spot, while No. 6 hitter Morriss, No. 8 hitter Devereaux and No. 9 hitter Goulder each drove in two runs.
"Get to postseason, somebody has to step up at the right time," Leo said. "Good to see guys get a better feel in RBI situations."
The Larks also benefited from two fine defensive plays in the second inning. After a leadoff single, Codi Harshman made a diving catch on the warning track in the right-field corner to rob A's batter Phillip Rodriguez of extra bases. Third baseman Heck made a diving stab of Zach Atkins' line drive to end the inning.
The two teams will conclude the two-game series with a game at 7 tonight at Larks Park. The probable starter for Hays is right-hander Calvin Lewis (3-0).