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Eagles split with Dodge City

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

Cam Klaus hadn't thrown in a couple of weeks because of some arm fatigue and some scheduling quirks. He was supposed to pitch Sunday in Omaha, Neb., but the Hays Senior legion baseball team had its games rained out. On Tuesday, Klaus, used as a reliever all season, worked four scoreless relief innings and helped the Eagles collect a home doubleheader split against Dodge City at Indian Field.

Hays lost the first game, 11-3, in a game called after six innings because of run rule. In Game 2, Hays won 5-3.

"So disappointing, was just how flat we were," Eagles coach Brad Kelly said. "We weren't into the game. We weren't competing whatsoever. The second game, we were able to get some runs early and get up, and it seemed like that sparked us a little bit."

Hayden Hutchison, the team's leading hitter with a .519 average, missed the games because of registration at Neosho (Kan.) Community College.

Klaus, known for pitching to contact, allowed two hits with no walks and no strikeouts after he took over for starter Marcus Altman with two outs in the third inning in Game 2.

"He did a good job just coming in and just throwing strikes, and letting his defense work," Kelly said. "...When his arm is feeling good, he has a pretty decent little fastball. He is not that big of a kid, but he can get a little velocity behind it when his arm is feeling good. He was throwing really well tonight."

Clayton Basgall relieved Klaus (1-1) with two on and two outs in the seventh and coaxed a ground ball to end the game and earn his first save. Hays moved to 12-11.

"Hays did a good job of keeping us off balance at the plate," Dodge City coach Chris Chilton said.

For the season, Klaus is 1-1 with a 1.75 earned-run average in six appearances, all from the bullpen. He has struck out three batters and walked six in 12 innings.

"I always like guys that we can get loose in the middle of an inning and bring into a game and have confidence in throwing strikes," Kelly said. "He is one of those guys. We don't have a lot of bench guys this year. He is not necessarily a bench guy for us, but he is a good guy that we can keep on the bench when we know that we might need him to come into a ball game to pitch."

Dodge City, with 12 players on the roster and 10 available for Tuesday, moved to 14-2, including a 3-1 record against the Eagles and 1-1 versus the Hays Monarchs. In Game 1, the Rangers had 14 hits, including six doubles in a 78-minute contest.

"Game 1, we win because we had good pitching, we played good defense and we had timely hitting," Chilton said. "Every time we had a runner in scoring position, it seemed like somebody else stepped up and got a big hit."

Brady Bieker (2-4) took the loss in four innings. He allowed nine hits and seven runs (four earned). Dodge City scored in every inning except the fourth.

"They swung it well against him," Kelly said. "For him, it's about being able to locate pitches. When he misses his spots, he is going to get hit a little bit. It's just something that he is going to have to continue to work on."

Right fielder John Griffith dove for a ball in the outfield and was removed in the sixth inning with a possible shoulder injury.

Kyler Niernberger entered the game and pulled a homer down the left field line in the seventh inning, his first extra base hit of the summer. Grant Meininger tried to reach up and make the catch, but lost his glove and ball over the fence.

"I have seen it on ESPN," Chilton said. "It happens. He had a bead on it, and you stick your glove up there, and you hit the fence and the ball and the glove went over."

In Game 2, Hays scored three in the first, one in the second and one in the fourth. When one out in the first, Dan Bittel singled. Chandler Rule followed with a routine double play ball to shortstop, but Meininger misplayed the throw and everyone was safe. Layne Downing tripled in two runs with a blast down the right field line. Kade Parker collected a RBI single. Parker, out for most of the summer with a knee injury, carries a .350 average in 20 at-bats. Kelly said Parker has limited mobility and will go back to the doctor at the beginning of July.

"He will play up until then," Kelly said. "Hopefully get some good news from the doctor."

Altman worked 2.2 innings and allowed three runs on three hits with six walks and no strikeouts before Klaus came in. Klaus ended a third-inning rally when Drew Chance lined out to Basgall at shortstop. Klaus retired 10 in a row at one point before two singles in the seventh.

"He threw strikes," Chilton said. "That's the name of the game. It's always our goal to get to the bullpen as quickly as possible. We did that. But he did a great job."