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Monarchs, Ellis warm up for tourney

By NICK McQUEEN

nmcqueen@dailynews.net

With a couple pitchers ailing, and having not played in more than a week due to a rainout, the Hays Monarchs baseball team just wanted to use Wednesday's action against Ellis at TMP Field as a bit of a warmup for this weekend's Wild West Fest Tournament.

Ellis was just about in the same boat, so the teams decided to make it a single nine-inning affair rather than the normally scheduled doubleheader.

After an 8-1 win for the Monarchs, their 12th this season, both teams will begin play Friday in the WWF tourney that gets started at 11 a.m. Friday at Larks Park, TMP Field, and HHS Field.

"We just ran some guys out there to get some innings," Monarchs coach Dustin Schumacher said. "We ran some guys out there who really hadn't pitched at all this summer, or even this spring."

That gave his Hays team, which moved to 12-3, a little chance to heal up before this weekend's tournament when it will play three games in pool play Friday and Saturday. Action continues Saturday night and Sunday in bracket play.

The Monarchs mainly are dealing with two injuries to pitchers Braiden Werth and Jared Vitztum. Status of both was up in the air Wednesday night.

"We're dealing with some injuries right now, so it's cut our pitching staff down a bit," Schumacher said. "We'll have to deal with that, but it's OK."

Having not played since June 23 because of last week's rainout, the Monarchs just wanted to get back on the field before entering the 16-team WWF.

Schumacher wasn't exactly pleased, though the Monarchs won their eighth straight since their third loss June 12 to Dodge City.

"We were actually terrible offensively," he said. "Bad execution, bad approaches, couldn't move runners. We didn't hit with people in scoring position.

The Monarchs drove in four of their runs, and scored the others on errors, walks, or passed balls.

"We haven't played in a week and a half,"  he said. "Some of these guys haven't played even longer (because of vacation)."

The Monarchs team-pitched with Kameron Schmidt, Liam Stults, Jordan Gottschalk, Ricky Hockett, Cameron Brin, Taylor Wasinger and Ryan Schippers each spending at least an inning on the mound. Ellis threw three out with Will Crabill taking the loss in three innings.

Jordan Gottschalk and Ryan Ruder each collected two hits for Hays. Ellis (9-8) managed seven hits. Schmidt picked up the win in the team-pitch start.

"It was kind of disappointing," Schumacher said of the layoff, "because we were playing some really good baseball before that. We can get back into that. We'll see some good competition this weekend, so we'll see where we're at."

The Monarchs open at 11 a.m. Friday with the Wichita Greys at HHS Field, then play Canon City, Colo. in the 5 p.m. game at TMP Field.

Ellis will play Erie, Colo., in the 3 p.m. game at HHS Field, then the 7 p.m. game against the Wichita Canons 17s at TMP Field.