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Koeiman leads Larks in win

By AUSTIN COLBERT

acolbert@dailynews.net

Two and a half innings into Tuesday's game with Dodge City at Larks Park, the Hays Larks trailed 3-0 and still were searching for their first hit. Not only did Lark second baseman Zair Koeiman find it in the bottom of the third inning, he knocked it clear out of the park, one of two home runs on the night by the third-year Lark.

That paved the way for a come-from-behind 8-3 win for Hays, led by Koeiman's 4 for 4 performance, including two runs and three runs batted in.

"I think he was on fire. Every ball he hit was a laser," Larks manager Frank Leo said of Koeiman. "I thought Zair's home run kind of spark-plugged us a little bit. Then everything else started falling in place. Hitting does get contagious, but I thought we made some good adjustments and got after it tonight."

Blake Roley, a sophomore from Carl Albert State College (Okla.), had the start for the Larks, pitching 4.1 innings while allowing six hits and two earned runs with three strikeouts. The win went to reliever David Koll (3-1), who allowed one hit and no runs in two innings of work

Spencer Applebach, Ethan Landon and D.J. Carr combined to pitch the final 2.2 innings.

Before being replaced, Roley pitched himself out of a jam in the top of the third inning. Already trailing 3-0, the A's had two on with two out and were threatening to add to their lead, when Roley struck out shortstop Brennan Bozeman to end the inning.

"They could have went up 5-0 at that point. I thought that was a big pitch on his part," Leo said. "Then David Koll, out of the bullpen, looked good tonight. And that's encouraging. I thought he would give us some quality innings. In the middle of the game, you look at all those zeroes up there; a lot of those are David's and then the rest of our bullpen. Hats off to David, I thought he did a nice job coming out of the pen tonight."

Koeiman's solo shot to open the bottom half of the third inning got the Larks on the board. Before the inning was over, Hays added two more runs to tie the game, RBIs coming from shortstop Tyler Leffler on a groundout and left fielder Ty Detmer on a single.

Koeiman added an RBI single in the fourth inning to give the Larks their first lead at 4-3, and a throwing error by Dodge City led to an unearned run by Lark third baseman Derrick Mount in the fifth inning, making it 5-3.

Then in the bottom of the sixth inning, Koeiman struck again, his second solo home run making it 6-3 in favor of Hays. Fourth-year Lark Aaron Cornell got in on the action with his own solo shot in the seventh inning, and Hays pushed its final run across home plate in the eighth, an RBI single by Mount.

"A little concerning in the first three innings when you are down 3-0. Really, we weren't playing crisp," Leo said. "I thought defensively we weren't getting ahead of our hitters on the mound and our hitters were hitting a lot of pop-ups. A slow start, but a very, very strong finish. And that's what's important. We were finishing games strong early in the year and we are starting to do that again and that's a good sign."

Hays, 15-9 overall and 11-9 in the Jayhawk League, will travel to Dodge City today (10-15, 5-15) for a 7 p.m. game. Second-year Lark Ian Bentley, a sophomore from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, is set to start for Hays tonight after joining the team on Tuesday.