WELLINGTON — A furious ninth-inning rally by the Hays Larks ended short of overcoming a four-run deficit in a 6-5 loss Wednesday against the Wellington Heat.
Wellington’s Ryan Baca struck out 10 Larks in a complete game, though he allowed 14 hits and five earned runs. The Heat were held to nine hits on the night.
The Larks (16-2, 12-2) got on the board in each of the first two innings. Austin O’Brien knocked an RBI single in the first that scored Jax Biggers after his double. Connor Ross followed with an RBI double in the second to score Ty Redington.
Larks starting pitcher Austin Isenhart allowed just two runners in the first three innings via a hit batter and a walk in a 3-2 count.
Isenhart then gave up a single and walk to lead off the fourth. After a Heat double steal, a ball skipped past catcher Matt Waller and allowed Wellington to score its first run.
The Larks left four runners on base in the fifth and sixth innings combined. They stranded 10 runners total.
Isenhart’s night ended after he allowed back-to-back singles to lead off the sixth, the second resulting in an RBI.
Though Layne Downing worked his way through a perfect sixth, he allowed a leadoff home run and single in the seventh, forcing manager Frank Leo to beckon a second reliever. Sam Reed allowed a fourth Heat run on a one-out double, putting the Larks in a 4-2 hole.
Wellington scored runners after a pair of doubles and a sacrifice fly in the eighth, sending the Larks to the plate in the ninth facing a 6-2 deficit.
O’Brien connected on a two-out, 3-2 single. Mike Mioduszewski followed suit before Devlin Granberg gave a 3-2 pitch a ride for his first home run of the season, cutting the Heat lead to a single run. Jacob Boston flied out to end the game and the Larks’ 10-game winning streak.
Six Larks finished with multiple hits, including each of the top four hitters in the order.
Hays and Wellington complete their three-game series with today’s 7 p.m. rubber match.