By The Hays Daily News
DODGE CITY -- They needed a bit of help, but the Hays Larks clinched the 2013 Jayhawk League Championship with a win Wednesday night against the Dodge City A's.
Heading into the night with the possibility of needing two wins to clinch their second straight league championship, the Larks earned an 8-4 victory against the A's for their 22nd Jayhawk win. That, coupled with a doubleheader split between Wellington and El Dorado, put Hays enough ahead of Wellington for the title.
Hays moved to 30-11 overall and 22-10 in league play, earning their second straight league title after winning last season for the first time since 2008.
The Larks grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third inning on an RBI fly out by Ty Gilmore, then blew the game open with a five-run fifth. Clayton Garland, part of his 2 for 5 night, drove in three on a bases-clearing double in the inning.
Larks starter Jason Zgardowski, who ended up in a no-decision, struggled in the fifth. He gave up three runs to let Dodge City back in it. Zgardowski ended his day with two outs in the fifth, having given up six walks with five strikeouts, allowing three earned runs on two hits.
Ian Bentley (3-1) got the win in 1.1 innings of relief. He gave up another Dodge City run on tow hits before DJ Carr and David Owen finished the game.
Garland finished the night with two doubles four RBIs, and Aaron Cornell drove in two, going 2 for 5 with a triple. Jake Placzek was 3 for 5 with two runs scored, and Zair Koeiman added a pair of hits with a double.
Dodge City dropped to 15-25 overall and 8-25 in league play. The two teams are scheduled to close the regular season at 7 p.m. today at Larks Park.
Hays clinched the Jayhawk's top seed in the "Championship Week" of the National Baseball Congress World Series, and will begin play either Aug. 2 or 3.