The Hays Larks scored five runs in the first inning and continued to pound Dodge City, returning to Jayhawk League action with a 17-2 thrashing of the A's on Wednesday at Larks Park.
The Larks belted 17 hits and got a solid six innings out of starter Fabian Muniz as Hays moved to 27-6 overall and 19-5 in league play.
"Coming into this game, I never thought it was going to turn out the way it did," Larks manager Frank Leo said. "They had their ace (Brady Rodriguez) on the mound. We've seen him earlier this summer and his numbers were good. We got on a roll in the first inning and made him throw a lot of pitches."
The Larks did all their first-inning damage with two outs. Jacob Boston opened the scoring with a run-scoring double and John Rensel Jr., Matt Munoz and Cole Solomon also had RBI hits.
"That's a really good sign," Leo said of the Larks' two-out hits. "We're a ball club that has been swinging it good. To swing it good against a good pitcher was very encouraging."
The Larks chased Rodriquez after two innings and built a 9-2 lead by the fifth inning.
Muniz improved to 5-0 on the summer, giving up two runs on six hits with a walk while striking out four.
"They scored two runs off of him, but it was what I call a quiet two runs," Leo said. "Unless you're really following the game, you look up on the board and say, 'Hey, how'd they get two runs?' He wasn't getting pounded around. A seeing-eye ground ball and then a high chopper with the bases loaded with one out."
Munoz hit a three-run home run to right field in the seventh for his third hit of the game to make it 15-2. Wyatt Divis and Cole Solomon also had three-hit games for the Larks.
Hays turned in another flawless defensive outing, playing an error-free game for the sixth time in the last seven games.
"Devin Hager (Tuesday night) made a bare-handed play at third base to end the game," Leo said. "Tonight, he had tremendous range at second base. Wherever we put Devin, he seems to make a big play every night."
The Larks, who maintained a four-game lead over Liberal for first place in the league, will begin a four-game series at home against the Derby Twins at 7 p.m. on Friday.