MARYSVILLE — Late proved to be better than never for the Hays Monarchs in their AA legion state baseball tournament opener against Marysville.
The Monarchs went down to their final out trailing the tournament hosts 2-0 but pulled out a 5-4 win in eight innings over the tournament hosts.
Thomas More Prep-Marian alumnus Ricky Hockett kept the Monarchs in the game until the bats got going. Hockett limited Marysville to a run in the second and one in the fourth while the Monarchs were still searching for their first hit.
Chase Werth and Creighton Renz reached on errors to lead of the seventh before Luke Ruder followed with a one-out single, the Monarchs’ first hit of the game. A walk loaded the bases before an infield fly brought Marysville one out away from victory.
Zane Staab had other plans, however, as his two-run single tied the game and forced extra innings after Hockett tossed another scoreless frame.
Werth put the Monarchs ahead in the eighth with a single on a 3-2 pitch that scored Tate Garcia and Gavin Schumacher.
An important insurance run would score on a passed ball later in the inning.
Hockett retired the first batter he faced in the bottom of the eighth but made way for Cole Zimmerman after walking the next two.
Zimmerman walked the first batter he faced to load the bases with one out. A fielder’s choice and a bases-loaded walk brought the hosts within a run before Zimmerman got a pop out to Ruder at short to end the game.
Two of the Monarchs’ three hits plated four of the team’s five runs, while Marysville scored four runs on seven hits.
Hockett earned the win with 11 strikeouts and just two walks, while Zimmerman recorded the save.
The Monarchs are set to take on the Garnett Muddogs in a winner’s bracket game Friday in Marysville.
Dohiphan County and Iola will meet in the other winner’s bracket game. Doniphan County advanced with a 5-0 win over Hoisington, while Iola outlasted Russell, 6-5.