Not only did Trey Riggs have the power on the mound to escape a few jams, the Hays High junior also had the power of persuasion during the final game of the Western Plains Diamond Classic on Saturday.
Protecting a 1-0 lead against Goddard Eisenhower in the sixth inning with runners on first and second and two outs, the Indians were set to make a change on the mound when Riggs pleaded his case to Indians pitching coach Keith Harper.
"He came out and said, 'Coach (Frank) Leo wants you out. You're at 100 pitches,' " Riggs said. "I got the guy out two times. So I said, 'Coach, c'mon, let me get my third try at him.' Because we had two out already. So I said, 'Coach, c'mon, I have five more pitches. Let me just end this inning."
The Indians stuck with Riggs and the decision paid off after Riggs corralled a comebacker to the mound and threw the runner out to end the threat in the sixth. Hays added two insurance runs in the sixth and Palmer Hutchison closed out the game in the seventh to nail down a 3-0 win at Hays High Field.
"He was close to the pitch count," Leo said. "That was going to be his last batter, the nine hole. He's faced him before. Really, it's his game at that point. You feel good. You ask your catcher if he's still got some movement.
"He wanted the baseball. He got behind in the count 2-0 really quick, but then he competed and came back and got the big out."
Riggs also escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the first by inducing a soft liner to short and a groundout to third.
"The thing I like about today is he competed," Leo said. "He made some tight pitches when he had to. It was easy on him. He had to pitch today and he did a tremendous job."
Riggs gave up four hits with four walks and five strikeouts in six innings to earn the win.
"I felt like I got my swagger back," Riggs said. "It feels good."
Riggs put the Indians on the board with an RBI single to left field in the bottom of the first, scoring Hunter Brown after Brown led off with a double off the fence in left center.
In the sixth, Cody Petersen led off with a double and was brought home on a single from Cole Murphy, who came across on Dawson Harman's single.
The Indians (11-5) out-hit Eisenhower 8-5.
"We're going to see everybody's best shot in this tournament," Leo said. "That was their best guy (Andrew Wisner) and we saw the best guy (Friday night against Salina Central), and that's good. We need to see good pitching. The more good pitching you see the better you'll be able to handle it.
"We didn't have a whole lot of opportunities but we had very good clutch hitting."
Hays wrapped up the tournament 3-1, losing to Salina Central 7-2 on Friday. The Mustangs (13-3) won the Diamond Classic with a 4-0 mark.
Overall, Leo said it was a productive tournament for the Indians, who will close out the regular season next week with a home doubleheader against Andover Central on Tuesday and a road twin bill at Valley Center on Friday.
"Take away a couple innings (against Salina Central) and it was (a solid tournament)," Leo said. "We were in the ballgame and kicked it a little bit. When things like that happen, there's only one thing you can do. You've got to learn from your mistakes. It's between the ears. It's mental at this point.
"Physically, we've got a good ball club. They're ready to play. They just got to stay strong mentally and be ready for things to happen."