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SPOTLIGHT
Monarchs earn split in opener

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Monarchs earn split in opener

Published on -6/10/2012, 6:53 PM

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By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

The Hays Monarchs baseball team was suffering from a case of jet lag Friday evening at Larks Park.

Many of the players were on senior trips and didn't make it back until Wednesday, which was why the game was rescheduled for Friday. For the majority of the Monarchs, the last time they picked up their bats and gloves was in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament -- two weeks ago.

Nevertheless, the Monarchs (1-1) still managed to split with back-to-back AA legion state champion Pratt (1-1). The Monarchs lost 9-6 in eight innings in Game 1 and won 11-8 in Game 2.

"We looked pretty rusty," said Monarchs coach Dustin Schumacher.

Hays fell behind early in each game, but the Monarchs battled back in both.

They tied it twice in Game 1 in the sixth and seventh innings before Pratt scored three runs in the eighth to win it, and they took their first lead of the night in the fourth inning of Game 2 and never relinquished it.

"We came out really sluggish," said second baseman and outfielder Dylan Schumacher. "If you don't play baseball for two weeks, it's not like football where you can come out and just play. You've got to practice a lot, and we haven't practiced at all so that hurt us a bit."

It was the first games of the season for both teams, and it showed as, at times, they weren't the prettiest of ball games.

In Game 1, it was either boom or bust, as the Monarchs struck out Pratt's batters 14 times but surrendered 11 hits. In Game 2, the Monarchs had five errors.

"It was kind of some ugly baseball at times," Dustin Schumacher said.

Dylan Schumacher said the layoff was noticeable when he first stepped inside the batter's box. He said it was uncomfortable, and he eventually struck out.

"It didn't look right at all," he said. "It was a bad first at-bat."

After falling behind by three runs after the second inning in each game, the Monarchs showed perseverance, getting a majority of their hits in the fourth inning and beyond in both games.

Pitcher Travis Wasinger twice saved the team from significant damage in Game 2.

In the third inning, he had the bases loaded with no outs and struck out three consecutive batters to walk off unscathed, and in the fifth, he struck out two and forced a ground out to end the inning with the bases loaded.

"Everyone started getting more comfortable at the plate," Dylan Schumacher said. "We started throwing more strikes. We just needed to get back in the swing of things."

Hammeke (0-1) took the loss in Game 1, allowing five runs in 2 2/3 innings.

He relieved Shane Zimmerman, who was working the batters well but struggled with his control. Zimmerman finished with 10 strikeouts, while allowing five walks, six hits and four runs in five innings.

In Game 2, Pierce Schippers started, but he got lit up early, allowing seven runs (five earned), four hits and five walks while striking out three in two innings.

Wasinger (1-0), from Salina-Sacred Heart, relieved him and was solid. He allowed just one run, four hits and three walks while striking out seven.

Offensively, Hammeke led the team in Game 1, going 3 of 4 at the plate with one RBI and three runs scored, and in Game 2, first baseman Taylor Pfeifer finished 2-of-4 hitting with two RBIs and two runs scored.

All in all, Dustin Schumacher said he was happy with how his team responded after returning from vacation.

"We played better than I actually thought we would," he said.

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