The Hays Larks have been smashing the ball at the plate for most of the summer, but it was pitching and defense that carried the Larks to a seventh straight win on Wednesday against Great Bend.
Mason Myhre threw five solid innings and Walter Pennington tossed four scoreless frames out of the bullpen as the Larks celebrated Fourth of July with a 2-1 win at Larks Park.
"Outstanding game. Very clean game," Larks manager Frank Leo said. "It was a pitchers' duel. When their guy pitches well, you got to play good defense, and I thought we played tremendous defense."
The Larks improved to 22-5 overall and 16-4 in the Jayhawk League.
"Six games in six days in a row, we won them all and we won them all in different kinds of ways," Leo said. "This club is operating on a lot of different levels right now and we've got a lot of good things going, but we're not done yet. We've got a long road ahead of us. The month of July is a tough month. We're getting it started very good."
Myhre, a left hander from Pima (Ariz.) Community College, allowed a run in the first inning before rebounding with four straight scoreless frames. He gave up four hits and a walk and struck out five.
"The first inning was a little shaky," Myhre said. "I didn't feel like I had my best stuff. Once I got out there in the second inning, I got a quick inning and I got a better feel and then just cruised from there."
Pennington took over in the sixth and continued to hold the Bat Cats at bay. He gave up two hits and a walk and struck out three.
"Walter missed nine days; he had to go to a wedding. He's been back with us for two days and I thought he looked really sharp," Leo said. "To finish the game, he made pitches when he had to."
The Larks took advantage of two Great Bend errors and a wild pitch in the second inning to plate a run and tie it at 1. Devin Hager drove in Jacob Boston with an RBI single in the third inning for the deciding run.
Hays played an error-free game while the Bats Cats had four miscues.
"They always have your back," Myhre said of the Larks' defense. "You go out there and have no doubt in your mind they're going to do the job."
Ellis product Easton Smith turned in a solid outing on the mound for Great Bend. He went five innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
The Larks are off Thursday before opening a three-game series at El Dorado on Friday.