Hays Senior Eagles coach Dustin Schumacher believes it’s just a matter of time before his team starts producing more consistently at the plate.
Until then, the Eagles have the luxury of relying on a deep pitching staff and solid defense.
Using pitching by committee, the Eagles flirted with a no-hitter against Buhler on Wednesday at Larks Park, holding the Nationals hitless through seven innings.
Buhler broke up the no-hitter in the eighth and proceeded to plate four to creep within two runs of the Eagles, but Hays closed it out in the ninth to notch a 6-4 victory and improve to 9-3 on the season.
Heading into the eighth, six Eagles pitchers had combined to keep the no-hitter intact. Willie Sennett tossed the first two innings before Tate Garcia, Brady Kreutzer, Cody Petersen, Colby Dreiling and Brock Lummus each threw an inning apiece.
“We’ve got a deep pitching staff this year and we’ve got a lot of guys that can go out and get outs for us,” Schumacher said.
Buhler ended the no-hitter with a single off Palmer Hutchison with one out in the eighth to help fuel the four-run inning. But Trey Riggs sealed the game for the Eagles by working a scoreless ninth.
“We had some good momentum early, and then just kind of sat on it in the middle of the game and didn’t do anything,” Schumacher said. “All of the sudden they got the momentum, and Trey did a good job of coming out and shutting the door and finishing the game out.”
The Eagles, comprised mostly of Hays High and Thomas More Prep-Marian players, put up three runs in the first and two more in the second as Buhler struggled to throw strikes early. But the Eagles were held in check the rest of the way, finishing with six hits total.
“Offensively, I don’t think we’re anywhere close to where we can be,” Schumacher said. “And that’s fine — we don’t want to be tearing the cover off now and then cool off later. Hopefully we continue to progress and find a way to start manufacturing runs a little bit better.
“We need better execution, especially with guys in scoring position,” Schumacher added. “We’ve done a really good job so far of getting guys on base and getting guys in scoring position, but who’s going to get the hit? We’ve been really slow at getting two-out RBIs. We’ve got some guys that are frustrated right now with how they’ve been hitting, but if they stick with it, I know they’ll come around.”
Kreutzer and Petersen each had two hits for Hays.
Schumacher said the Eagles have the experience and the tools to put together a strong summer.
“We have the talent to do something special,” Schumacher said. “It’s just about whether we can be playing our best ball at the end of the year.”
The Eagles will play two games in Rossville on Saturday, facing Rossville at 8 a.m. and Pittsburg at noon.