HHS baseball splits with Junction City
By NICK McQUEEN
When junior Trenton Henningsen hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the sixth inning of Game 2 on Tuesday against Junction City at Indian Field, it looked as though he had jolted the Hays High School baseball team to its first doubleheader sweep of the young season.
But, much like they had in their previous two losses, the Indians let that momentum slide in what eventually was a 4-3 loss in the nightcap for a doubleheader split with the Blue Jays.
Hays High won Game 1, 8-2, behind an eight-run third inning.
“It’s something we need to fix,” HHS coach Frank Leo said. “We’ve had three leads late now and every game we’ve lost. It’s not like we’re getting blown out.”
It was also the third loss for senior pitcher Layne Downing. In all three, he’s pitched at least six innings, and of his nine runs allowed in three starts, only three have been earned. All four were unearned in the loss Tuesday. All three losses are by one run.
“We just have to learn how to compete,” Leo said of his team, which started five sophomores Tuesday. “If we do that, we could have been 6-0. But the big thing is we’ve got 14 games left, and we have to find out how hard we’re going to compete.”
Henningsen’s bomb to left field in the sixth broke a 2-2 tie in the nightcap, but after a single with one out in the seventh, Junction City senior Will Ervin scored the tying run on a two-out error at second base by the Indians.
“Henningsen’s home run was huge, and we should have had great momentum after that,” Leo said. “We should have took the field and got after it, 1-2-3. Everyone should have been up. That’s a big home run, and we let it slip.”
Then in the eighth, Junction City junior Xavier Deguzman reached on a fielding error at shortstop, and scored on a two-out double by freshman Tim Bell against Downing, who finished the game.
“It seems like he makes a mistake pitch at the right time,” Leo said of Downing, who is 0-3 with a 0.66 earned-run average. “That guy hit the ball hard. Layne’s had some tough losses, but he’l have to bounce back. We’ll need him.”
In Game 1, the Indians’ fourth different starter, sophomore Cole Schumacher, pitched a solid complete game. Schumacher gave up two runs (one earned) on seven hits in picking up his first decision. He also had no walks.
The Indians used an eight-run third inning to provide the cushion. In that inning, sophomore Connor Rule had a one-out, two-RBI double, then sophomore Dalton Stout followed with a two-run home run to left field.
Schumacher, senior Kade Parker and sophomore Marcus Altman each recorded two hits.
The attention now turns to Thursday’s scheduled 4 p.m. doubleheader at Salina South. Altman and Parker are slated to start the two games.
“Cole did a tremendous job in Game 1,” Leo said. “Marcus will need to do the same on Thursday. Parker and Downing have been solid.
“High school season is only 20 games,” Leo added. “There’s not a lot of time to learn. We’re not panicking. Six games isn’t a lot of games.”
Hays High 8, Junction City 2
Junction City (1-4) 000 200 0 — 2 7 1
Hays High (3-2) 008 000 x — 8 10 2
Schumacher and Bieker; McFarthing, Deguzman (3) and Ervin. W — Schumacher (1-0). L — McFarthing. 2B — McFarthing, Junction City; Rule, Hays High. HR — Stout, Hays High.
Junction City 4, Hays High 3
Junction City (2-4) 000 200 11 — 4 4 1
Hays High (3-3) 100 011 00 — 3 8 3
Downing and Bieker; Peyla, Ervin (7) and McFarthing. W — Ervin. L — Downing (0-1). 2B — Bell, Junction City. HR — Henningsen, Hays High.