By RANDY GONZALES
The last time the Hays Larks scored more runs than in Friday night's 19-1 non-league victory over Colorado, the game was a just a little more meaningful.
On July 31, 2006, Hays defeated the Houston Apollos 20-10 in the opener of the NBC World Series. Friday's win at Larks Park was a tune-up for games Saturday and today against Jayhawk League rival Liberal, last year's NBC Wold Series champion.
"You got to get some work in," manager Frank Leo said after the Larks, who have won five of their last six, completed a three-game sweep of Colorado (13-5). "It's tough; a game gets out of control, you need to keep your focus."
Hays (13-5) jumped on the Sox early, scoring 11 runs in the first inning. Designated hitter Jon Ryan hit a grand slam off starter Mark Ortivez to make it 5-0 and drove in the final run of the inning with an RBI single. Sean Wilson hit a two-run single, Elvin Rodriguez doubled in a run and another run scored on Cam Brown's bases-loaded walk.
Hays banged out 16 hits against four pitchers, all position players for the Sox.
"A good chance for guys to relax a little bit and have some fun," Leo said. "We stayed focused; I thought our guys did a good job up there, getting their swings in."
The Larks added two runs in the second, both coming on walks issued to MacKenzie Handel and Brown with the bases loaded.
After Colorado got its run in the top of the third off Hays starter Jesse Hart, Sloan Soulia homered leading off the bottom of the inning to make it 14-1.
Ryan hit his second homer of the game and fourth of the season in the fourth inning, a two-run shot to give him seven RBIs on the night.
"When he hits them, they're no-doubters," Leo said. "I think every one of them, from the time it hit the bat it's out of here. He shows that in (batting practice), has some pretty good pop."
Assistant coach Dusty Washburn pinch-hit in the fifth and hit a two-run homer. Washburn now has two hits in two at-bats this season.
"Dusty said maybe it's time to stop now -- two-for-two, batting a thousand with a home run," Leo said. "It doesn't get much better than that."
Tito Andino hit a solo homer in the sixth to complete the onslaught. Hays finished the series with 32 runs and 35 hits in three seven-inning games.
"We saw positives out there the last two days against this Colorado team," Leo said.
Hart (1-1) pitched five innings, allowing an unearned run on six hits, with one walk and seven strikeouts. In one stretch, Hart struck out six straight batters.
"He made pitches when he had to early in the game, then he kind of got in a rhythm," Leo said. "He can be a valuable tool for us down the stretch."
Ethan Leiter finished up, striking out six in pitching two scoreless innings.
"Leiter, the gun had him 89-90 (miles per hour)," Leo said.
The Larks' probable starter for today's 7 p.m. game with Liberal at Larks Park is right-hander Andy Lewton (2-0).
Handel made back-to-back good plays in right field in the second inning. First, he slammed into the wall making a catch, then came in to make a diving catch on a sinking line drive. ... Leiter had four strikeouts in the sixth inning. Ben Lahn struck out to lead off the inning, but the ball got away from catcher Soulia. Lahn just slowly trotted to first base, and would have been out by several feet, but Soulia's throw to Washburn at first base was low. Leiter then struck out the next three batters. ... Pitcher Mark Purdy entered the game as a pinch-hitter on his birthday, but struck out. ... Colorado manager Dick Orcutt was ejected from the game by the first base umpire before the bottom of the fourth inning.