The Hays Larks are staying sharp through the dog days of the summer, extending their winning streak to six games with a sweep of a two-game set against the Denver Cougars.
The Larks earned an 11-1 run-rule win over the Cougars on Thursday and followed it up with a 7-3 victory on Friday, improving to 27-7 on the summer.
“This really has been a (long) stretch for us. When we play Dodge on Tuesday, we will have played 12 games in 13 days,” Larks manager Frank Leo said. “We have a very limited roster, and it’s a tribute to our guys how hard they’ve been playing.”
Wyatt Divis hit a three-run homer over the scoreboard in right field to unlock a 3-3 tie in the third inning and give the Larks control for good.
After giving up three runs in the second, Larks' starting pitcher Ryan Ruder bounced back to toss four scoreless innings before turning it over to the bullpen.
“He had a little hiccup there in the second inning where he wasn’t getting ahead of hitters, but he settled in and he did what he’s done every start for us — take us deep into a ball game,” Leo said.
Trevor Munsch, Drew Marrufo and Tommy Garcia each tossed a scoreless inning in relief. Justin Lee went 3 for 4 at the plate with two RBIs for the Larks.
Recent Hays High graduates Palmer Hutchison and Trey Riggs and current Hays High player Brock Lummus are suiting up for the Larks throughout this week’s homestand. Hutchison started at shortstop and had two hits for the Larks on Friday, while Riggs and Lummus are expected to play later this weekend.
“I know what those guys can do,” said Leo, who coached the trio at Hays High. "… Good opportunity for those guys to see what this is all about. I told them, ‘Be a sponge and learn from these guys, because they’ve been around the game and they’ve played a high level. See what you can pick up.’ ”
The Larks were set to play the Boulder Collegians at 7 p.m. Saturday and will face the Collegians again at 7 p.m. Sunday for host family appreciation night. The Larks will then play a home-and-away, two-game set with Dodge City as Hays looks to wrap up the KCLB Jayhawk West Division title. Hays currently has a one-game lead over the Liberal Bee Jays in the Jayhawk Division. The Larks will play at Dodge on Monday before hosting the A's in the regular season finale on Tuesday at Larks Park.
“Keep guys healthy, get them their work in and play at a good competitive level so that come Monday we’re ready to roll,” Leo said of the Larks' goal this weekend.