With its best arms unavailable, the Hays High baseball team was forced to piece things together on the mound against a tough Wichita Carroll team on Saturday.
Hays managed to keep the Golden Eagles in check at times but couldn’t sustain it, falling 14-2 and 4-0 to Carroll at Indian Field.
“We knew we had to throw some young guys, and we didn’t pound the zone enough,” Hays coach Frank Leo said. “When you walk that many batters against a team like that. You’re going to get yourself in trouble.”
In the first game, Hays starter William Sennett appeared to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning with a groundout, but Hays was called for catcher’s interference to plate Carroll’s first run and keep the inning alive. The Golden Eagles proceeded to tack on two more runs in the frame on a single from Carsen Pracht.
The Indians (7-3) were then on the wrong end of a controversial call on a three-run homer down the right field line by Carroll’s Reece Flax in the third inning. The home plate umpire ruled the ball tucked inside the foul pole before landing in a spot that was several feet right of the pole.
Leo said he agreed with the catcher’s interference call but was adamant the ball was foul on Flax’s home run.
“I thought it was obviously foul but I don’t make the call,” Leo said. “It was a tough wind to read, in his defense. But those trees are right up against the fence so if it lands in one of those trees there, it’s going to be a foul ball. But it is tough. I know it’s not easy for umpires to make that call. I’m not saying that turned the game around. That made it (6-0) and we just could not stop the bleeding.”
Tradgon McCrae put the Indians on the board with an RBI double in the fourth and Dawson Harmon scored off a wild pitch in the fifth to make it 6-2.
The Golden Eagles put up three more in the sixth and tacked on five in the seventh to open up a 12-run lead.
In the second game, Carroll (10-2) scored a run in the top of the first and added another in the fifth before getting two more insurance runs in the seventh.
The Indians couldn’t take advantage of a strong pitching performance from Nicholas Fisher in the second game. Fisher went 6 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on seven hits.
“Game two, I thought Nick Fisher did an outstanding job of keeping us in the ballgame,” Leo said. “We had a couple horses to come in behind him if it was short innings. We were prepared in game two to make a run at them. They’re a good hitting ball club and they capitalized when they had their few opportunities. Our hats off to Nick Fisher, he did a tremendous job in game two.”
The doubleheader was a makeup from an early-season postponement. The Indians will play another rescheduled twin bill on Monday, facing Great Bend at home before hosting the Western Plains Diamond Classic Thursday through Saturday.