WELLINGTON — The Hays Larks produced a double-digit run total for the third consecutive game, but Tuesday’s 17-8 win over the Wellington Heat represented the Jayhawk League leaders’ most explosive offensive outburst this season.
In the process, the Larks (16-1, 12-1) extended their winning streak to 10 games.
Austin O’Brien, Mike Mioduszewski and Nate Olinger — the Larks 3-4-5 hitters — combined for 15 of the team’s RBI. Each member of the trio homered in the game, while Jax Biggers, the Hays leadoff hitter, went 5-for-6 with four runs scored.
After Biggers singled and Josh Minjarez reached on an error, O’Brien opened the scoring with a 3-2 three-run homer in the first.
After Wellington used a one-out error to get a run back against Larks starting pitcher Stephen Yancey in the bottom half, Hays responded with a six-run second frame. The bulk of the scoring came courtesy of a grand slam off Ollinger’s bat that made it 9-1.
Biggers scored his third run of the first three innings on a sacrifice fly from Minjarez in the third inning.
The Heat got back in the contest with a two-out grand slam in the bottom of the third, but the Larks answered with another big inning in the fourth.
After singles from Garrett McKinzie and Biggers, O’Brien earned a walk to load the bases. Mioduszewski then emptied the bases with the Larks’ second grand slam of the game to make it 14-5.
The Larks added single runs in the sixth, seventh and ninth innings to reach a new season-high of 17 runs.
Yancey lasted five innings and picked up the win, allowing six runs — five earned — on four hits. He struck out one and walked three. Cole Hendrix came on for the next three innings and gave up six hits and two runs, one of which was unearned.
Tyler Schwanner worked around a one-out single in the ninth to preserve the nine-run win.
Jacob Boston, Austin Bell and McKinzie, the Larks’ six, seven and eight hitters, respectively, all had two-hit games. Hays outhit Wellington 18-11, while the Larks’ committed four errors to the Heat’s three.
The Larks and Heat will meet for Game 2 of a three-game series tonight.