Summer has begun: Legion sweeps opener
Published on -5/30/2012, 2:02 PM
By KLINT SPILLER
Members of the Hays High School baseball team didn't get much recuperation time after state.
Four days after losing to Stilwell-Blue Valley in the first round of the Class 5A state baseball tournament in Wichita, much of the squad was back together playing a doubleheader for their senior legion team, the Hays Eagles.
The Eagles swept it, defeating Great Bend 10-9, 7-2, at Larks Park.
For some of the Hays High players, the sweep was a bit therapeutic following the state tournament.
"I love it," Hayden Hutchison said. "I don't like taking days off."
The Eagles' 15-man roster features Hutchison, WAC Player of the Year and first-team all-state selection at third base, and all-state utility player Austin Unrein as well as All-WAC selections Riley Kaus, Zack Legleiter and Trevor Henningsen.
"All these guys deserve to play," said Eagle coach Brad Kelly. "At one point in time, they've all been all-conference or made all-tournament teams. ... We are just going to mix it up the best we can and try to even up playing time."
The Eagles also bring back some familiar faces with outfielder Casey Sedbrook and catcher Jarrett Sanders, who both graduated from Hays High and redshirted last season for Fort Hays State University.
Clayton Basgall from La Crosse rejoined the Hays Legion. Basgall doesn't play baseball during the spring because his school doesn't offer it, but he plays during the summer with the Eagles.
"It's going to take him a couple weeks to kind of get used to everything, but he is an athlete," Kelly said. "He is quick and he can do a lot of things."
Despite the victories, Kelly said he thought the Eagles looked a little flat.
The Eagles committed two errors in Game 1 and three in Game 2, but Great Bend looked even worse with four errors in Game 1 and seven errors in Game 2.
"They are still licking their wounds a little bit after that state tournament," Kelly said. "I think the best thing is to get back out and start doing it again. I don't think we were all that sharp tonight, but we did enough to get two wins."
A committee of pitchers threw Game 1, but Unrein (1-0) came in during the sixth inning and earned the victory. He pitched 1 1/3 innings, and he gave up two hits and walked and hit a batter, allowing no earned runs.
The Eagles got a big lead with a six-run third inning, but Great Bend responded with four runs in the fifth and five in the sixth.
Center fielder Dan Bittel drove in a run to tie it in the seventh, and down 9-8 in bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded and one out, Kaus hit a walkoff single.
"I wasn't too worried about it, because I knew I had a good team behind me," Kaus said. "I was just relaxed and wasn't thinking too much. I knew we needed one more run to win, but I just did my job."
In Game 2, each team made the game difficult for themselves.
The Eagles scored seven runs despite only having two hits, and of the nine total runs scored in the game, only one run was earned.
Josh Heifner (1-0) pitched a complete game and allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out five.
Kaus, who just finished his senior year, said playing with the same guys during the summer helps, but he said he still won't forget that game against Blue Valley.
"I'm sure I'll remember it the rest of my life, because it was my last one," Kaus said. "It's just stuff that happens, I guess. I'll just have to move on."