By The Hays Daily News
Last year, the Hays Larks suffered a three-game home sweep to Wellington, but came back to earn the Jayhawk League crown. This weekend, the Larks again took three straight losses against league-leading Wellington with three-quarters of the league schedule remaining.
Hays lost a 10-4 decision to Wellington on Sunday at Larks Park, the final game in a six-game home stand for the Larks, played over six consecutive days. The Larks, a much younger and more banged-up team than the experienced Heat, also lost 11-0 and 3-2 in the first two contests. Hays dropped to 9-4, 6-4 Jayhawk League. The Larks have now lost seven straight home games against Wellington (14-0, 8-0).
"It's 10 games into a 34-game schedule," Larks manager Frank Leo said. "A lot of games to go. It's the mental attitude of the club. You start having some doubts."
We played so well early - and that's when we were healthy. I am not making any excuses, but we just don't have a lot of options in the bullpen right now. We don't have a lot of options in the field. We are just too banged up. We are not making excuses. The guys that are out there are going to have to find a way to win. That's the bottom line. We have got to find a way to win."
Alex Daniele (1-1) of the New Jersey Institute of Technology took the loss for the Larks in his third appearance on the mound this season.
He went six innings, giving up seven hits and four earned runs to go with three walks and three strikeouts. Tabor College's Junior Mustain, an All-American who completed his senior year on the Bluejays' squad that reached the NAIA College World Series, earned the win, giving up five hits and one earned run in six innings.
The game was tied a run each after the first inning on Sunday before a five-run second inning by Wellington would pave the way for a 7-1 lead entering the bottom of the seventh. The key play came when Daniele went to third base on a grounder back to the mound instead of taking the easy out at first. Daniele threw wild and two runs scored. The Larks scored three in the seventh, but Wellington would get two back in the eighth and one in the ninth to complete the win.
"Those guys have to think pretty quick on their feet," Leo said. "Maybe a little more experienced arm would have kept his poise a little more. It's a tough decision to make. You have got a split-second. What do I do with the ball? A veteran guy will say let me get the out."
Nate Olinger, Derek Birginske and Matt Leuty each had RBIs for the Larks. The Heat outhit Hays 14-6.
The Larks will be on the road for their next five games, beginning Tuesday and Wednesday at Liberal.