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Eagles pull away, beat Monarchs

By AUSTIN COLBERT

acolbert@dailynews.net

While it might seem like the spring baseball season just ended, the reality is it has been nearly two weeks since the Hays High School season concluded with a 3-1 loss to Maize South in Class 5A regional play.

Turns out that's more than enough time for the players to get a little out of sorts.

"We had to knock the rust off a little bit," Hays Eagles Legion baseball coach Brad Kelly said. "We had practiced a couple of times here and there, but it's not the same as being in a game. I thought the first few innings were a little rough, but after that it seemed like we kind of loosened up a little bit."

After the Eagles (1-0) were able to shake off the cobwebs, they finally got back on track and eventually run-ruled the Hays Legion baseball team, 15-5 in eight innings, on Monday in the Eagles' summer opener at Larks Park.

Marcus Altman (1-0) took the win in two innings of relief. He gave up one earned run on four hits.

Russell's Kaden Rohr -- one of two non-HHS players along with Ellis' Brandon Bollig on the Eagles' roster -- pitched three innings. He allowed six hits and three runs, all earned, with one walk. Starter Kade Parker and Brady Bieker saw time on the mound as well.

Ricky Hockett took the loss for the Monarchs (2-1), which are made completely of Thomas More Prep-Marian players.

In three innings Hockett allowed five hits and two runs, both earned, with one walk and three strikeouts.

"We threw it well the other night. Tonight we just didn't compete on the mound," said Monarchs' coach Dustin Schumacher, referring to their 9-0, 9-1 season-opening sweep of Lincoln last week at TMP Field. "Defensively we had some errors. That hurt us, too. But they are a good ball club. We are a little over matched there, but we competed for most of the game and then it kind of got away from us there at the end."

The Monarchs had the early 1-0 advantage after two and a half innings, on an unearend run scored by Hockett from third base after an Eagles' throwing error in the top of the second.

The Eagles responded with two runs in the bottom of the third, with Cole Schumacher and Parker getting the RBI hits.

Liam Stults tied the game at 2 in the top of the fourth, driving in a run on a fielder's choice for the Monarchs. Then, in the bottom of that inning, the Eagles finally opened the game up with five runs, which all got started with a two-RBI double from Rohr.

"Offensively, I thought maybe we weren't swinging at quality pitches," Kelly said of the team's early struggles at the plate. "That's why we were kind of popping up and not hitting the ball like we are capable of. As the game went on we saw some steady improvement with that."

The Eagles led 9-3 entering the top of the seventh when the Monarchs got two runs back on a two-RBI double by Ryan Schippers to make it 9-5. Any comeback hopes were quickly extinguished in the bottom of the seventh after the Eagles added four more runs to extend their lead to 13-5 entering the eighth.

Three fly outs and one walk was all the Monarchs could muster in the eighth, and the Eagles earned the run-rule win with two final runs in the bottom half of the inning.

"The doubleheader last week and tonight, we hit the ball well. But we are still not very efficient scoring runs," Coach Schumacher said. "We probably had 16, 17 base runners and we scored five runs. That's not going to get it done. We are hitting the ball well, but we are making some mistakes on the bases that are costing us some runs."

Schippers finished with a team-high two RBI for the Monarchs, going 2 for 4 at the plate. Hockett led the team with three runs going 2 for 3 with a walk.

Catcher Jake Sedbrook led the Eagles with three runs on a 2 for 3 performance. Parker did most of the damage, going 4 for 5 with four RBI and two runs, while Rohr also was 4 for 5 with two runs and three RBI. Layne Downing finished with three RBI as well, going 2 for 4.

The Monarchs are next in action Wednesday with a 6 p.m. doubleheader at Ellis. The Eagles will host Russell in a 6 p.m. single game Wednesday at HHS Field.