The Hays Larks used a well-executed and balanced offensive attack to run-rule the Colorado Outlaws, 11-1, on Saturday night at Larks Park.
The Larks had eight hits and drew 11 walks, cashing in on their scoring opportunities to move to 4-1 on the season.
"That’s the game of baseball," Larks manager Frank Leo said. "When you got men on base, what are you doing? Are you coming through, putting the ball in the play, moving runners? We did a great job of that tonight."
All nine players in the Larks’ lineup reached base safely at least once.
Wyatt Divis gave the Larks their first home run of the summer with a shot to right field in the third. Divis also had an RBI single to force the run rule in the seventh.
"Wyatt’s getting there," Leo said. "Wyatt’s a big part of our offense, and he was a little frustrated his first few games. We needed to get him more at-bats. Our league doesn’t use the pitcher/DH, so when he pitches he doesn’t get to hit. He needs to get those ABs and get in that rhythm. Once he does, it’s going to be a real good 1-2 punch with Divis and (Corbin) Truslow."
Truslow, a Fort Hays State Tiger, added two more hits to continue his strong start to the summer.
"Truslow is in a very good groove right now," Leo said. "The exit velo off his bat is real good. He hasn’t hit a home run, but he’s had some loud line drives. Very consistent. He hasn’t had a bad at-bat this summer."
The Outlaws got on the board with a run in the top of the second but the Larks answered with three in the bottom half. Truslow led off with a single, followed by a walk from Jake Wyeth. Palmer Hutchison then bunted for a hit to load the bases.
The Larks got their first run on a wild pitch, and Wyeth scored after the Outlaws couldn’t get an out on a fielder’s choice grounder from Sean Cooper. Leo Jiminian later drew a bases-loaded walk for the third run.
In addition to Divis’ homer, the Larks got RBI singles from Cooper and Drew Buhr in the third.
Hays tacked on four more runs in the sixth before Divis’ hit ended it in the seventh.
Larks’ starter Landon Schirer (Angelo State) got into a jam in the second inning but limited the Outlaws to one run. He went four innings, giving up one earned run, three hits and three walks while striking out four.
"His last outing, he hit a little bump in the second inning and couldn’t get out of that," Leo said. "Today, he had a clean first inning. Second inning, he got into a little trouble. And it was good to see him be able to reset and not let that second inning get on him like it did the previous start. It was good to see him bounce back with a good start for us."
TMP product and FHSU pitcher Ryan Ruder tossed three scoreless innings in relief, allowing just one hit and one walk.
Larks catcher Max McGuire had to exit the game before the fifth inning with a quad injury.
"Hopefully it’s not severe and it won’t hamper him for a while," Leo said.
The Larks turned to Cameron Pehrson to take over catching duties.
"It was ironic," Leo said. "Just a couple days ago, Cam and I were talking -- he’s kind of a versatile guy, can play a lot of positions — I said, ’Did you ever catch?" He said, ’Yeah, I caught a little bit in high school. I said, ’Well, you’re our No. 3 guy.’
"He got his baptism out here a little quicker than I thought it would happen, but it was good to see that he got comfortable. Of course, Ryan Ruder made it easy on him. He was right around the plate, didn’t put a lot of balls in the dirt."
Leo said he was encouraged by how the Larks responded after their first loss
"It was interesting to see how we would handle that after getting an L (Friday night)," Leo said. "I thought our guys were pretty focused and weren’t going to let that happen two nights in a row."
The Larks will close out a two-game set with the Outlaws at 7 p.m. Sunday.
Hays Larks 11, Colorado Springs 1
Dodson, Battin (5), Bregard (6) and Brock Johnson. Schirer, Ruder (5) and McGuire, Pehrson (5). W -- Schirer. L -- Dodson. HR -- Hays: Divis.