Larks clinch title, suffer loss
By The Hays Daily News
The Hays Larks finished the weekend with a loss, but they took away a positive as well -- the Jayhawk League championship.
The Larks (28-11, 22-11) clinched the Jayhawk League championship on Saturday after defeating Derby 5-1 and then ended the three-game series at Larks Park by losing Sunday to Derby 3-2.
The league title is the Larks' first since 2008, but the loss ended a 10-game winning streak for the Larks. The streak was their longest since 2003 when they won 13 consecutive games.
On Sunday, the Larks got off to a hot start, posting four hits and two runs in the first inning, but trailed off after that, collecting just three hits in the next eight innings.
First baseman Ryan Busboom led his team at the plate, hitting 2 of 4 with an RBI.
Four Larks pitchers appeared in the game. Austin Cox got the start and went three innings, surrendering two hits, a walk and a run while striking out one.
Jake McDavid pitched two scoreless innings, and Ryan Mas pitched two innings and allowed the tying run in the top of the sixth.
Jason Heflin (2-1) surrendered the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth to suffer the loss.
He finished the game pitching two innings and surrendering two hits, a walk and a run.
The Larks got the bulk of their offense in the first inning.
With two outs and center fielder Aaron Cornell on second base, right fielder Austin Darby drove in Cornell with a single, and Busboom singled to bring in Darby.
Against Derby on Saturday, the Larks pitching staff shut out the Twins.
Blake Johnston (4-0) lasted 5.1 innings to earn the victory. He struck out three and allowed two walks, four hits and an unearned run.
Brett Macari and Colton Reavis then took over in relief and didn't give up a run.
The Larks' final game of the season is Wednesday against Dodge City at Larks Park. The game begins at 7 p.m.
Dodge City is second in the league standings with an 18-13 Jayhawk League record and 23-14 overall record.