MARYSVILLE — For the second time in three summers, the Hays Monarchs are state champions.
The Monarchs entered Sunday in driver’s seat after advancing to the championship following Saturday’s 7-4 win over Iola.
Iola opened Sunday with a win over Russell to earn another shot at the Monarchs. A 14-10 Iola win handed the Monarchs their first loss of the tournament, setting up a winner-take-all game.
The Monarchs won the state title 8-4 behind a five-run second inning.
After Chase Werth’s second scoreless frame, Eston Brown scored on a balk to open the scoring in the bottom of the second. Gavin Schumacher and Creighton Renz followed with RBI singles before Luke Ruder highlighted the inning with a two-out, two-run triple to center.
Iola got two of the runs back after an error and a sacrifice fly in the third. Werth gave up a two-out RBI single in the fourth that made it 5-3.
Cole Zimmerman scored on an error to get the run back in the bottom half.
Iola scored again in the sixth, but Creighton Renz doubled in a pair of runs in the bottom half to give Werth a four-run cushion to start the seventh.
Werth gave up a leadoff single in the seventh but got a double play to help secure the win.
Schumacher finished with three of the Monarchs’ seven hits, driving in one run and scoring two more. Renz drove in three runs, while Ruder plated two.
Of the four runs Werth allowed, two were earned. He gave up seven hits and six walks with one strikeout.
Iola jumped out to an 8-0 lead through three innings in the first meeting between Iola and Hays on Sunday.
The Monarchs’ bats put up multiple runs in each of the final four innings, but a five-run Iola sixth inning provided enough separation.
Werth led the Monarchs at the plate with three hits and five RBI in the loss.
Iola racked up 18 hits against Zimmerman, the Monarchs’ starter.
The Monarchs will have the opportunity to continue their summer season in a regional tournament.