Larks move to 18-3
By CONOR NICHOLL
Brent Gillespie is a sophomore infielder from Penngrove, Calif. who played at Santa Rosa Community College in the spring. He went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to play in a new league this summer. Gillespie didn't like the league that ended up being disorganized and had several problems, including lack of competition.
"His team was about to fold," Hays Larks manager Frank Leo said.
Recently, Gillespie committed to NCAA Division I Youngstown State, where Hays catcher Josh White and pitcher Alex Frey attend. He called the Youngstown State coach, who sent him to Hays.
Gillespie arrived during the road series at Derby last week and has already stepped into the starting lineup for a Larks club that has had constant injuries and changes. On Wednesday, Gillespie started and played second base in Hays' 7-1 non-league victory against Boulder (Colo.) at Larks Park.
He also can play shortstop, a position where the Larks need some depth after Elvin Rodriguez recently signed a professional contract.
"I am really happy to be here and to be a part of this program and the fans that surrounded it," Gillespie said.
Hays team-pitched and Brandon Anderson made his first appearance since he injured his shoulder on June 7. Anderson threw three innings of hitless, shutout relief with one strikeout and collected the victory. Anderson (2-0) told Leo he wasn't "cutting loose" and said the velocity wasn't quite there yet.
"That's understandable," Leo said. "Hopefully that's going to be a good progression for him."
Freshman right-hander Kyle Krings, a recent pickup from Arizona Western, started the game and worked two innings. He allowed three walks and two hits, but only one run.
"Krings said he was a little nervous," Leo said. "First start before the crowd. We had been doing so well. He wasn't pitching as loose as he wanted to, but he worked out of jams, he made pitches when he had to. It was good to get Brandon Anderson out. He was pain free. Threw about 30 pitches."
Gillespie replaced Larks veteran Zair Koieman, who remains day-to-day after fouling a ball off his groin. Koeiman is expected to play in today's 7 p.m. game against Boulder at Larks Park. Center fielder Aaron Cornell went back to Oklahoma State University for an MRI on his knee today; his future is uncertain. The OSU doctor is on vacation this week, so the earliest Cornell can be released is Monday.
Catcher Josh White is currently out with a back injury. As well, third baseman Ty Gilmore missed Wednesday's contest because of a normal rest day. Pitcher Logan DeRosier served as the designated hitter and went 0 for 4. Infielder Cody Daily will miss next week because of a wedding in Florida.
"We don't have a whole lot of options," Leo said.
Hays tallied single runs in the first, third, fourth and eighth and three runs in the seventh. Nick Hammeke, a Thomas More Prep-Marian graduate and Fort Hays State University product, worked the final four outs, allowing one run on two hits with one strikeout and two walks. Hays moved to 18-3.
"We got some work in, and that's key for our hitters," Leo said. "You don't want to give hitters two or three days off. They need to see that live pitching. There is a big difference between live pitching and just taking some BP. We will try to rotate some more guys in (tonight)."
Gillespie, in his first time in Kansas, went 1 for 5 with a run scored and two RBIs and made some nice plays in the field. He is batting .250 in 12 at-bats over four games and has already been acclimated to the landscape.
"I would love to go play in Kansas," Gillespie said. "First time in the Midwest. I got off the plane, and I tested a couple of my buddies. I was like, 'All right guys, where are the mountains at?' They told me it was flat, and I didn't really think it was flat. It's definitely different, but I like it out here."