GREAT BEND — The Hays Jr. Eagles rallied from an 8-0 deficit and scored 18 unanswered runs to punch their ticket to state with an 18-8 win over the Salina Hawks on Wednesday in the Class A Zone 2 Tournament final in Great Bend.

Things looked bleak for the Eagles after they gave up six runs in the first inning and two more in the second. However, Hays got it all back in one inning, erupting for eight runs in the top of third.

Dalyn Schwarz tripled to center to score three and cut Salina’s lead to 8-7 before a Hawks’ error brought in the tying run.

Hays then grabbed the lead on an RBI single by Isaac Smith during a five-run fifth and broke it open with five more runs in the top of the sixth. They forced the run rule after blanking Salina in the bottom of the sixth. 

The Eagles got four hits from Blake Herrman and three hits each from Schwarz, Remington Cox and Josh Haynes.

Chance Murphy came up big in relief, allowing two runs on five hits and striking out four in 5.2 innings to earn the win.

The Class A Legion State Tournament is July 18-22 in Leavenworth.