Monarchs sweep Great Bend
By AUSTIN COLBERT
Hays Monarchs senior Legion baseball coach Dustin Schumacher didn't have a lot of options on the mound Wednesday against visiting Great Bend at TMP Field. With one pitcher playing in Colby with the junior Legion team and a couple more missing due to football camp, Schumacher only had three available pitchers for their doubleheader against the Chiefs.
But for a team with a knack for pitching complete games, this wasn't an issue. Ricky Hockett pitched all seven innings in the Monarchs' 6-1 win in Game 1, and Liam Stults handled all five innings of Game 2, a 9-1 run-rule win for Hays.
It was the fourth and fifth consecutive games a Monarch pitcher has gone the complete game, all wins.
"We had to have good pitching outings out of our guys tonight and they came through big on that," Schumacher said. "We pitched it really well, again. We did make a couple of errors, but battled though it and got outs when we had to."
Hockett (2-0) allowed just three hits and one unearned run with no walks and four strikeouts in the Game 1 win. The game was scoreless through three innings, Great Bend's lone run coming after a fielding error by the Monarchs.
Hays exploded in the bottom half of the inning with five runs, two runs batted in from both Grant Romme and Braiden Werth, with another from senior catcher Jordan Gottschalk.
The final run was scored in the bottom of the fifth inning for Hays, when Werth was walked with the bases loaded to score Hockett.
"It's really important so we can have pitchers going for later games," Hockett said of the importance of going the complete game with a limited number of pitchers available. "I don't really feel the pressure. Coach kept asking me if my arm was feeling good. If I would have said no he probably would have brought someone else in"
Werth led the offense in Game 1 with three runs batted in, going 1 for 2 at the plate.
Stults (4-0) handled things in Game 2, allowing one hit and one earned run in five innings with four strikeouts and three walks. The last time Stults started was on Saturday against McCook when he threw a five-inning no hitter in Nebraska.
The Monarchs got going much quicker in Game 2, scoring two runs in both the first and second innings to lead 4-0. Hays would hold a 4-1 lead into the fifth inning, Great Bend getting its only run on a sacrifice hit in the fourth inning.
Hays finished the game in the fifth with five more runs to force the run rule, the final play a double to center field from Gottschalk to score Romme for the game ender.
"It probably should have been the same in the first game as the second game," Schumacher said. "We weren't very efficient. I think we stranded 10 guys, maybe. So we weren't very efficient at scoring runs. We had a lot of opportunities that we didn't take advantage of."
Romme led the offense in Game 2, going 2 for 3 with three runs and two RBI. Cameron Brin and Taylor Wasinger had two runs apiece.
The Monarchs are off until Monday, when they will host Larned in a doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m.
"Some innings we look really good and some innings we don't look so good. So we are still working on trying to piece a whole seven-inning game together," Schumacher said. "But I was happy with what I saw tonight, especially in the second game."