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Hays Eagles face tough test in Omaha

Published on -6/21/2012, 9:56 AM

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By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

This weekend will be one of the most difficult tests the Hays Eagles Senior Legion baseball team has faced this season, but it also could provide some of the most fun.

The Eagles begin competition today at the Battle of Omaha -- a baseball tournament in Nebraska that features teams from across the nation.

Playing at the same time and in the same city as the NCAA Division I College World Series is just a bonus.

"I think it is probably one of the toughest tournaments we go to besides maybe Kansas City," Eagles second baseman Riley Kaus said. "There are supposed to be some great teams."

The Eagles will compete in pool play from today to Saturday at Omaha Benson. If they win their pool, they will qualify for the playoffs Sunday.

"We are going to go up there and expect to win every time we take the field," Eagles Coach Brad Kelly said.

Last year, the Eagles lost all three of their games in Omaha.

"It is going to be tough," Kelly said. "You never know with those teams that come from such a long distance. Some of it might be because they want to come to the College World Series, but more than likely, it means they are pretty darn good."

The city offers diversions more fun than just sitting in the hotel room waiting for games. Kaus said they plan to go to a College World Series game.

"I think it's going to be awesome," Kaus said.

The Eagles were scheduled to play back-to-back games at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. today against Omaha Benson and Millard Sox Gold -- two teams from Nebraska.

They will play at 8 a.m. Friday against New Mexico and at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday against the Amarillo Outlaws and O'Fallon, respectively. Kelly kept his players' pitch counts low against the Hays Monarchs Tuesday in preparation for this tournament.

"We have a good team, and I think we'll compete pretty well down there," Kelly said. "If we get a break or two, maybe we can come out of our pool and play Sunday."

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