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Larks struggle in blowout Friday loss


Son of Andrew Nicholl

Hays Larks manager Frank Leo is uncertain whether right-hander D.J. Carr is a starter or reliever. Carr pitched well in a relief role last summer for Hays, but delivered some quality starts for Chandler-Gilbert (Ariz.) Community College this spring.

Matt Luety is listed as a first/third baseman on the roster, but redshirted his freshman year for University of Nebraska. Luety has had to play second base the last several games for Hays after a groin injury to starter Zair Koeiman. In Leo's eyes, Luety doesn't have a set position.

On Friday, Carr and Luety struggled in their respective positions and the Larks fell 11-0 in a Jayhawk League contest to undefeated Wellington in the opener of a three-game series at Larks Park.

Carr looked uncomfortable all outing, ran into trouble every inning and took the defeat after 4.2 innings.

"They said he was a starter this year," Leo said. "He did have some quality starts down at Chandler. ... We like him better out of the pen. Once we get our roster kind of where we need it to be - right now, it's not a good roster - we are thin, we can't make very many moves. We will get stronger next week. But with the injuries we've got, we can't wait very long."

The Larks committed four errors, one by Luety. Luety also dropped an infield popup Thursday night.

"I don't know what defensive position he does best," Leo said. "..."He is filling something for us. He is going out there, and giving it his best shot. He doesn't want to make those errors. He is working hard at it. I thought as the game progressed, I thought he got a little more comfortable."

Leo said infielder Derek Martin, who hit .333 for Pearl River (Miss.) Community College, was expected to come in Friday night and be in the lineup for the 7 p.m. start against Wellington on Saturday night.

"His name was given to us awhile back if we had any needs," Leo said. "Now, we've got needs, and he is still available. We have got a couple of arms coming in next week."

Heat starter Derek Fischer worked seven shutout innings and Hays didn't have an extra bat until two outs in the ninth inning on a night where the wind kept balls down. Wellington moved to 12-0, 5-0 Jayhawk League, while Hays dropped to 9-2, 6-2 Jayhawk League.

"We didn't play a clean game, and you go against the league leaders, a good solid ballclub, you better play a clean game," Leo said. "We didn't do any facets of the game good. I thought we squared some balls up, but with this wind, that's not going to be the name of the game."

Wellington, previously Haysville for the last several years and Havasu (Ariz.) for many seasons, has usually matched up with the Larks in low-scoring, high-intensity games. Wellington manager Rick Twyman didn't expect Friday's result.

"Throw this out the window," Twyman said. "That's what I just told these guys, 'Throw it out the window.' (Hays) is going to come back, and they can do the same thing to us tomorrow night."

Wellington had a young team last year, and Twyman said the Heat return between 12 to 14 players. Wellington has four arms who threw 90-plus innings in the spring who won't pitch until next week.

"Our pitching staff, we are loaded," Twyman said.

Fischer, the ace of the staff, is a returner. First baseman Tony Piazza, who reached base three times and scored twice, was a senior this past spring, along with outfielder Kirk Rocha, the KCAC Player of the Year for Tabor College this spring.

"Our team chemistry is real good," Twyman said. "Great group of character kids."

Wellington tacked on a run in the first and Carr worked around jams in the second, third and fourth innings. The Heat scored four runs in the fifth and five in sixth and finished with 13 hits. Wellington, traditionally known for playing small ball, had two sacrifice hits and two stolen bases. With one out in the fifth, Piazza singled.

After two walks, Kyle Lacy doubled in two runs. After a strikeout, right fielder A.J. Shaw chopped a two-run single up the middle. Then, a walk ended Carr's night. He faced 27 batters, 12 reached base, eight with hits.

Larks linescore

Wellington 11, Hays 0

Well. (12-0, 6-0) 100 045 010 -- 11 13 0

Hays (9-2, 6-2) 000 000 000 -- 0 8 4

Fischer, Keefer (8) and Richmond; Carr, Pickett (5), Larkin (8), Cornell (9) and Detmer. W -- Fischer. L -- Carr (0-1). 2B -- Walker, Lacey (2), Shawk, Wellington; Olinger, Hays.