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Two more wins for HHS softball

By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

The Hays High School softball team makes many of its games look easy.

The Indians trounced Liberal in a doubleheader Tuesday at Dusty Glassman Ball Park.

Hays High run-ruled the Redskins 14-0 in five innings in Game 1 and 15-0 in four innings in Game 2.

"We kind of expected to come out and score a lot of runs today. We were able to do that," said Hays High coach Abby Maska. "We still had some issues stringing things together when we get towards the bottom of the lineup, but some girls stepped up and that was good to see."

Freshman Hannah Hearld pitched all five innings of the first game, allowing just one hit and three walks while striking out seven, and Maska sent her back out to the circle to pitch Game 2.

Hearld threw two shutout innings before Schumacher relieved her.

Hearld allowed a hit and a walk and struck out a batter, and Schumacher threw two perfect innings and struck out four Liberal batters.

Hearld (10-1) was credited with the win in both games.

Maska said she wants Hearld to be the team's primary pitcher despite the fact Schumacher has done equally well on the mound. She said Schumacher's fielding skills at shortstop is worth trying to keep her there as much as possible.

"Katelyn does well on the mound, but she is our No. 1 shortstop," Maska said. "We'd like to keep a consistent defensive lineup behind Hannah, so we are trying to get her more innings."

The Indians' offense seemed to score at will, scoring two or more runs every inning.

Hearld blasted the ball in Game 1, going 3-of-3 at the plate and recording six RBIs and two runs. Four of her RBIs came on a grand slam just inside the third base foul line in the first inning.

It was her fourth home run of the season and first grand slam.

Senior third baseman Paige Lunsford was thunderous at the plate in Game 2. She hit 3-of-4 and posted five RBIs and three runs, which included a 2-RBI home run over the right field wall in the first inning.

"I'm just trying to keep my swing simple and not over swing," Lunsford said. I've got a hot bat right now and hopefully it stays that way."

Hays High (15-1, 5-1 WAC) has won nine of its 16 games by a run-rule, but Game 2 was the first time the Indians finished a game after four innings. Liberal dropped to 7-11, 0-6 WAC.

"Games like this don't really get us prepared for what's coming next week against Garden City and then regionals the following week," Maska said, "but it's a good opportunity for kids to get confidence at the plate and tweak a few things trying people out at different positions."

Maska said their weak schedule has been a problem for the past two years, but she said last year's postseason experience will be helpful heading into the regional tournament this year.

"We just have a veteran squad that knows how to play under pressure," she said. "Obviously in practice, they get to see two or three of the best pitchers (Hearld, Schumacher and Makenzie Flaska) that we are going to see on our schedule just on our own roster."

The Indians will play Salina Central at 4 p.m. Thursday at Dusty Glassman Ball Park before finishing their regular season on May 8 at Garden City.

Hays High will have to sweep Garden City to clinch a share of the WAC championship.

"We haven't played the best competition, but we've still played well," Lunsford said. "We just have been really focusing on (the challenging) games to try and perfect our game and try to get the most out of the other games."