Bragging rights in Saturday's Hays Legion showdown went to Eagles, but they had to work for it.
The Hays Sr. Eagles survived a late rally from the Hays Sr. Monarchs to pull out a 4-3 win at Larks Park in the Wild West Festival Tournament.
The Monarchs scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh and had the tying run at third before Hays High standout Trey Riggs struck out back-to-back hitters to end the game for the Eagles.
"Our guys were excited to play them and I'm sure they were excited to play us," Eagles coach Dustin Schumacher said. "Both teams came out and played well. A lot of good baseball out there with all Hays kids there. It was a fun game to play in and coach in."
With a few exceptions, the Eagles are comprised of Hays High players while the Monarchs are made up of players from Thomas More Prep-Marian.
"Both teams were pretty amped up," Riggs said. "They're our friends off the field, but this game's kind of a rivalry, bragging around town. It felt good."
The Eagles improved to 24-3-1 on the season and moved to 3-0 in the WWF Tournament. They will play against the Northern Colorado 17 Roughnecks at 8 a.m. on Sunday at Larks Park.
The Monarchs (13-4-1) rebounded with an 8-0 win over Norton but were knocked out of the tournament with a 6-0 loss to Buhler on Saturday night.
After leaving the bases loaded in the first inning against the Monarchs, the Eagles plated the first two runs in the top of third. Palmer Hutchison doubled to right field with two outs and was driven home on a double from Riggs, who came around to score on Cody Petersen's single.
The Monarchs cut the lead to 2-1 in the fourth when Cole Zimmerman drew a bases-loaded walk, but they missed out an opportunity to do more damage when Riggs induced a ground-ball double play to end the inning.
Riggs singled in another run in the fifth and the Eagles added more insurance in the sixth on an RBI single by Dawson Harman.
"We just kept after it and finally took advantage of some of the opportunities we had," Schumacher said.
Riggs retired the first batter in the bottom of the seventh but the Eagles had to sweat out the final moments. Trent Mayo drew a walk for the Monarchs and Gavin Schumacher singled before a throwing error from the Eagles scored two runs and put Tate Garcia at third.
However, Riggs ended the threat with two swinging strikeouts.
"He's a gamer so we expect that out of him," Schumacher said of Riggs. "He's had some rough outings this summer but he's always thrown against the best teams we've played. He battled through a little adversity there at the end and got two big strikeouts to end the game with the tying run standing on third base."
"I just needed to buckle down and fill it up and keep the runner at third and try to keep it from extra innings," Riggs added.
Riggs gave up one earned run on three hits with four walks and five strikeouts.
"My fastball was working really good and I got my changeup to work early," Riggs said. "And my curveball's always working. It felt pretty good pitching on the mound today."
Cole Zimmerman went 6.1 innings for the Monarchs, allowing four runs on eight hits with six walks.
The battle of the Hays teams was set up after the Eagles rallied for an 8-5 win against Hoisington at Hays High Field on Saturday morning.
Hoisington led 6-5 heading to the bottom of the sixth but the Eagles regained the lead on a two-run single from Jamison Martin. Brock Lummus and Willie Sennett also had RBI singles for more insurance.
"We didn't play our best baseball," Schumacher said of the Hoisington game. "We're not always the greatest in the mornings sometimes. We got down, came back, got down again and came back when it mattered and shut the door when we needed to."