HHS baseball sweeps Pratt
By NICK McQUEEN
Monday, Hays High School baseball coach Frank Leo and the Indian staff talked with their team about the opportunity it had this week to bounce back.
The Indians have seemingly righted the ship after three straight losses dropped them to 3-5.
Thursday at Indian Field, Hays High (7-5) won its third and fourth consecutive games with a 7-1, 8-3 sweep of visiting Pratt (3-5).
“This week we had to be on a mission to get healthy physically, and more so mentally,” Leo said. “It (was) a good week for us to get prepared for next week against Great Bend.
“We’ve got ourselves in that kind of position now.”
The wins Thursday (a make-up from earlier in the season) came on the heels of a doubleheader sweep Tuesday of Western Athletic Conference foe Garden City.
Also, the Indians got another pair of solid outings from their 3-4 pitchers in sophomores Cole Schumacher and Marcus Altman.
In the opener, Schumacher (2-0) pitched a complete-game four-hitter. He gave up one run (unearned) with eight strikeouts to one walk.
In Game 2, Altman (2-1) was perfect through four innings before starting to cramp up late. He went on to pitch six innings, struck out eight and walked four. He gave up three earned runs in the sixth after junior center fielder Bryce Ficken just missed a diving play on a ball in center field to break up Altman’s no-hitter.
“Proud of what Marcus did today,” Leo said. “He just couldn’t use his legs, and that’s so important when you pitch. The pitches got a little flat, but a heck of an effort by Ficken in center field on that ball. That kind of opened the gates a little bit, but you can’t fault the effort on that ball there.”
Senior Brady Bieker threw a perfect seventh on four pitches.
Schumacher (2-0) lowered his earned-run average to 0.49 in three appearances (two starts), with his second complete game.
“Cole spots the ball very well, and mixed his offspeed with it today,” Leo said. “We feel good he can get us seven.”
Schumacher and seniors Kade Parker and Layne Downing now have combined to give up just four earned runs (20 total) in 64.2 innings combined.
Offensively, Hays High was home-run happy in Game 1. Downing’s solo shot in the second inning broke a scoreless tie. Then, in the second Altman connected on a 1-0 pitch to score two runs. In the sixth, sophomore Jarett Pfannenstiel — in his only at-bat — took an 0-2 offering from Pratt starter Will Fellhoelter over the left-center fence for a three-run shot to set the final margin.
Downing, who had been struggling entering this week, finished the first game 3 of 4 with a homer and a double.
“Our 7-8-9, we have to get some production out of those slots,” Leo said. “Good to see Layne starting to do that.”
In the nightcap, Hays High rolled through the first five innings, capitalizing on seven walks through three innings by Pratt starter
Brandon Ruckle. Hays High scored its first seven runs on just three hits. Sophomore Connor Rule went on to finish 2 of 4 and drove
in a pair.
“It’s not about the record right now, it’s about how we’re playing and getting ready for the big game,” Leo said. “We made some good strides in that direction this week.”
The Indians play host to Great Bend in a 4 p.m. doubleheader Tuesday.
Hays High 7, Pratt 1
Pratt (3-4) 000 100 0 — 1 4 2
Hays High (6-5) 012 013 x — 7 11 2
Fellhoelter and Evert; Schumacher and Bieker. W — Schumacher (2-0). L — Fellhoelter. 2B — Parker, Downing, Hays High. HR — Atlman, J. Pfannenstiel, Downing, Hays High.
Hays High 8, Pratt 3
Pratt (3-5) 000 003 0 — 3 2 2
Hays High (7-5) 232 010 x — 8 8 1
Ruckle, Noel (3) and Evert; Altman, Bieker (7) and Rule. W — Altman (2-1). L — Ruckle. 2B — Kurz, Pratt; Rule, Hays High. 3B — Henningsen, Hays High.