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SPOTLIGHT
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Published on -6/19/2014, 10:41 AM

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By The Hays Daily News

LIBERAL -- The Hays Larks lost a 12-inning battle on the road to Liberal on Wednesday, falling 11-10 to split their two-game swing against the Bee Jays.

The teams finished the ninth inning tied at 10. The Larks were held to a lone single over the 10th, 11th and 12th innings. Liberal didn't fair much better, getting just one hit during the 10th and 11th innings, but capitalized in the 12th.

An inning-opening double for Liberal off of Hays' pitcher Aaron Cornell was soon followed by two walks, one intentional, to load the bases with one out. The winning run scored on a wild pitch on what would have been a third strike.

Cornell was awarded the loss for Hays despite only pitching 2.1 innings and allowing just the single run with six strikeouts. Derek Birginske started for the Larks, going 5.0 innings. He allowed eight hits, seven runs (all earned) with no walks and seven strikeouts.

Despite occasional pitching struggles, the offense was able to keep the Larks in the game. Second baseman Derrick Mount, from Pearl River Community College (Miss.), led the way with a 2 for 5 performance, including two runs and a team-high three runs batted in. Shortstop Ty Leffler was 3 for 4 with three runs and two RBI.

Only one run was scored over the first three innings combined, a solo home run by Liberal's Seth Stevens in the bottom of the second. A solo shot by Leffler in the top of the fourth got the Larks on the board, only to have Liberal answer with four runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a 5-1 lead.

Hays would trail 10-2 entering the eight inning before the offense came alive. The Larks scored five runs on five hits in the eighth, and followed with two hits and three runs in the ninth to send the game to extra innings. It was Mount's three-RBI home run in the ninth that tied the game.

Next for the Larks is a three-game series at Derby, beginning Friday at 7 p.m.

Injury update -- Tyler Kapp and Connor Sjolander are both possibly done for the summer after suffering elbow sprains. Each were scheduled to have MRIs this week ... Shane Willoughby is out 1-3 weeks with a ligament sprain in his upper leg ... Ethan Landon will miss a week with tendonitis in his shoulder ... Tanner DeVinny will miss 4-6 weeks with a broken finger. He could possibly return in late July ... Zair Koeiman should return to the field this weekend against Derby after suffering a groin pull against Dodge City ... The Larks added Joe Hallock to the roster this week, a sophomore catcher from North Iowa Area Community College.

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