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Regionals today for HHS, TMP baseball

By NICK McQUEEN

nmcqueen@dailynews.net

When the Hays High School baseball team closed the regular season at Junction City on Friday, a 1-0 loss in a split against a quality Bluejay team hurt more than the Indians thought.

A rare loss for senior pitcher Hayden Hutchison, the setback kept the Indians from hosting today's Class 5A regional competition. Instead, Hays High will travels to Great Bend, and was set to face Goddard-Eisenhower (8-11) in today's 2 p.m. first-round game.

Hutchison (4-2), who has yet to give up an earned run this season, will be on the mound in the opener. If Hays High wins, junior Layne Downing will go up against either Great Bend or Newton. If Hays High faces Great Bend, it will be the fourth meeting, a series where the Panthers own a 2-1 advantage.

"We're in it to win it, and we'll take it one game at a time," HHS coach Frank Leo said. "You just have to go 1-0 each time you play from here on out."

Last season, Hays High met up with Goddard-Eisenhower in the first round, and earned a 5-2 victory in Hays. Then the Indians defeated Salina Central to make Class 5A state tournament.

The Indians aren't dwelling on the fact they missed out on a chance to host. Great Bend had a game called off due to weather, and ended with four losses and 15 wins.

If Hays High had won twice at Junction City, it would have been 16-4, and the regional site is based on winning percentage.

"We played a quality team late in the season," Leo said. "It was a good game, and well-pitched on both sides."

"They had two hits, and they got a key hit at the right time, and we didn't."

If the Indians get to Game 2, Downing will be on the mound just a week after throwing a no-hitter against Liberal, in what turned out to be Hays High's final home game of the season. Downing is 2-1 with a 1.37 ERA in three starts.

TMP travels to Lyons

One of three teams to receive a first-round bye, the Thomas More Prep-Marian baseball team travels to Lyons, and will face Lakin (15-4) in the semifinals this afternoon.

A win by the Monarchs (14-6) would pit them against either Lyons or Scott City. Scott City opened the regional tourney with a 10-8 win against Holcomb on Monday in Scott City.

The Monarchs ended the season with a split against Class 4A Colby. The Monarchs top two pitchers, senior Shane Zimmerman and junior Cameron Brin, enter the regional with a 4-3 and 5-1 record, respectively.

Sophomore Braiden Werth is the Monarchs' top hitter this season, hitting .418 with 24 RBIs, while junior Ryan Schippers is hitting .397 with 17 RBIs.

Last season in the regional, TMP defeated Goodland in the semifinals, then took out host Lakin to make a trip to the 3A state finale.