The Hays Sr. Monarchs' debut in the 2018 Wild West Festival Tournament came about 10 hours later than scheduled, but it was worth the wait for the Monarchs.
After heavy rains soaked Larks Park and Hays High Field on Friday morning, the games were pushed back to Friday evening as the fields were worked into playable conditions.
The Monarchs, who finally opened play a little before 8 p.m., started the tournament strong with an 8-2 win over the Northern Colorado Roughnecks at Larks Park.
"We're lucky to have two turf fields in Hays so that we're able to play this tournament still," Monarchs' coach Ryan Post said. "The outfield seemed to dry up enough that it wasn't hazardous."
The Monarchs, 12-2-1, took control early by batting around in the second inning for four runs. Trent Mayo put Hays on the board with an RBI single, Gavin Schumacher drew a bases-loaded walk and Chase Werth had a two-run single to give the Monarchs a 4-0 lead.
"I think that's the key for this — get up early, and that way you get comfortable and don't have to play from behind," Post said.
Chase Werth struggled with his command on the mound early but finished strong, tossing a solid six innings. He struck out 11 while giving up two runs on five hits with six walks. The game ended after six innings because of the two-hour time limit.
"Early on, I don't know if (Werth) was overthrowing or what it was, but he wasn't able to get that first batter in the inning," Post said. "But he looked sharp there toward the end, for sure."
The Monarchs had just six hits but worked 11 walks.
"These kids are always pretty patient," Post said. "They always look for their pitch. It does work out in our favor sometimes, in this game in particular."
Mayo had two hits and two runs driven in for the Monarchs.
The rain on Friday morning forced the tournament to scrap the second game of pool play with bracket play beginning on Saturday.