Parker tosses second no-hitter in HHS sweep
By NICK McQUEEN
To say Kade Parker is off to an impressive pitching start this season for the Hays High School baseball team might be a bit of an understatement.
The senior left-hander has been nothing short of dominant.
In four appearances (3 complete-games), Parker is 2-1 with a 0.32 earned-run average, 26 strikeouts to three walks, and has the Indians’ only save.
Last but certainly not least, Parker just no-hit his second consecutive Class 6A Western Athletic Conference opponent.
His nearly-perfect performance in Game 2 on Tuesday against Garden City capped a shutout sweep for the Indians, 5-0, 7-0 at Indian Field.
“About the fifth inning, I kind of knew I had the no-hitter on,” said Parker, who suffered his only loss last week when the Indians were swept at Salina South. “I try not to think about it, but I started to feel like I was getting rushed.
“I just took some deep breaths, and just threw,” he added.
Parker no-hit Dodge City on April 8 on the road with seven strikeouts to one walk.
This time, Parker fanned nine with a walk and hit a batter. The walk came in the second inning, then he retired 16 straight.
“I felt really good (Monday during a bullpen session),” Parker said. “I just brought it out here today.”
His performance, coupled with the shutout for senior right-hander Layne Downing — his first win of the season — couldn’t have come at a better time. Hays High had suffered three straight losses after a 3-2 start.
“We had to get healthy this week mentally,” Indian coach Frank Leo said. “We needed some wins today. It was a tough day against Salina South, so very pleased with how we came out today. Our composure was good and our effort was fantastic.”
Garden City (4-7) hasn’t beat Hays High since 2003, a string of 21 straight victories for the Indians. The Buffs were batting .380 coming in, but also had suffered three straight losses.
“They just had great pitching,” Garden coach Bill Wilson said. “Good pitching will out-do good hitting.”
Downing had been a bit of a tough-luck loser in his 0-3 start, but scattered eight hits, and for the first time this season, the Indian defense was error-free behind him with several nice plays by sophomore Connor Rule at third base, Leo said.
The Buffs left seven on base with three in scoring position. Downing moved to 1-3 with a 0.49 ERA with three complete games in four starts.
“He finally got that win,” Leo said of Downing, a Dodge City Community College signee. “He’s given us a chance to win every time he’s gone out there. He pitched very well, and Parker has been consistent all year.”
The Indian offense did its part too. Sophomore Marcus Altman recorded six hits with a double in the doubleheader, while Rule and sophomore Dalton Stout drove in three runs each through the sweep.
“I knew our offense wasn’t going to be what it’s been the last two years,” Leo said. “It’s coming around, but we still have to play defense and get good pitching. We can do that with Kade and Layne.”
Hays High is back to work Thursday in a 4 p.m. home doubleheader with Pratt. Altman and sophomore Cole Schumacher are scheduled to start.
“We feel like we should be a lot better (record-wise),” said Parker. “We’ve had some games slip away. Sweep here, and Pratt coming in Tuesday, we feel like we should be able to get back on our feet and turn this thing around.”
Hays High 5, Dodge City 0
Garden City (4-6) 000 000 0 — 0 8 3
Hays High (4-5) 200 201 x — 5 8 0
Acker, Flores (5) and Solorio; Downing and Bieker. W — Downing (1-3). L — Acker. 2B — Altman, Parker, Hays High.
Hays High 7, Dodge City 0
Garden City (4-7) 000 000 0 — 0 0 2
Hays High (5-5) 132 100 x — 7 12 0
Montoya, Gutierrez (4) and Acker; Parker and Bieker. W — Parker (2-1). L — Montoya. 2B — Rule, Stout, Hays High.