Monarchs sweep Hoisington
By CONOR NICHOLL
Hays Monarchs' coach Dustin Schumacher missed Friday's home doubleheader against Hoisington Legion because of the rehearsal dinner for his brother Derek's wedding Saturday.
However, little else changed for the Monarchs. Hays, known for its strong fundamental play, throwing strikes and consistently reaching base without much power, rolled past Hoisington, 7-0 and 10-1, in arguably the team's best doubleheader of the summer.
The second game was called after five innings because of the run rule. Hays moved to 13-9, 3-1 against Hoisington, while Hoisington dropped to 9-8. Assistant coach Clint Brown helped run the team.
"We played better tonight than we have played them previous," senior shortstop Shane Zimmerman, the team's most experienced player, said. "I wasn't too surprised. We don't always put up big runs, but we got the hits when we needed to."
In Game 1, Hays collected 10 hits and just one double. Hoisington had one error, but had several other defensive miscues that helped the Monarchs.
Hoisington's two pitchers combined for 11 walks. The Monarchs' Taylor Rome (1-1) worked 6.2 innings and allowed no runs on four hits with five strikeouts and five walks.
"He is a good pitcher," Zimmerman said. "Throws strikes and can work out of situations when he gets in them."
Hays scored three runs in the second and third innings. In the second, the Monarchs took advantage of a walk and an infield single that likely should have yielded a force out at second. Then, Rome hit into a force play at second, but Hoisington shortstop Trent Schremmer threw the ball into the dugout when he tried for the double play at first.
Taylor Wasinger reached on a dropped flyball. Liam Stults and Cameron Brin followed with run scoring singles.
"Up until these two games, we have been playing well, we have been hitting the ball well," Hoisington coach Robert Brungardt said. "We just didn't execute tonight, the way we should have. That's the bottom line. It starts on the hill. If you can't throw strikes and get into a rhythm that way, then the defense gets on their heels, and we put ourselves in a big hole."
In the third, Ryan Schippers led off with a walk after Hoisington right fielder Clark Besthorn misplayed a fly ball in foul territory. Pierce Schippers, Rome, Wasinger, Stults and Brin followed with singles.
"They generally have good ABs," Brungardt said. "You don't generally see them going up there swinging at three bad balls. As you can see tonight, even when we got ahead in the count, 0-1, 0-2, they still battled to get us to 3-2 it seemed like tonight.
"That's the way they have always been," he added. "They have always been able to take a good approach at the plate and battle with two strikes and get a pitch that they like and put it in play. They don't necessarily have to hit it hard to get on base, but they put it in play and make us make the outs."
Hoisington, with four Claflin-Central Plains players, including starting second baseman Bryce Steiner, a Shrine Bowl selection and Ottawa University football signee, didn't have a hit until the third inning and had just two runners reach third base. Braiden Werth recorded the game's last out.
"We came out pretty relaxed today, so that was pretty good," Zimmerman said.
In Game 2, Hays had the first batters collect outs in the top of the first. Then, eight straight batters reached base on three singles, three walks and a two-run double to right-center field by Brin.
"We came out really hot in that second game," Zimmerman said.
For the summer, Hays carries a .319 team batting average, but has just a .393 slugging percentage with one homer.
However, the Monarchs have 116 walks to 97 strikeouts, a rarity among high school teams to have more strikeouts than walks. In the second, Hays tallied four runs on two hits, both singles, a walk, a reached on an error and two RBI groundouts. A single by Ryan Schippers took a bad hop off the infield on the shortstop side of second base and bounded into centerfield. TMP Field hasn't seen much use this year and the field is baked brown because of the drought.
"There is a lip there and if it catches it just right, then you are going to get a pretty nasty hop," Zimmerman said. "Most of the time, it is not too bad. You get some crazy hops now and then, but you get used to it after you practice on the field after awhile."
The team is batting .349 with runners in scoring position. Cameron Brin (4-1) pitched all five innings for the victory.
"I think it's just knowing that no one really has the power to hit the home run," Zimmerman said of the team's approach "... I think just the focus to get on base and do your job, you can get around and score. Do your job to help the team is I think what we focus on more."