Larks fall short of RMBL title, gear up for NBC with final series


A championship was on the line at Larks Park this past weekend as the Liberal Bee Jays arrived in Hays to take on the Larks for the Rocky Mountain Baseball League regular-season championship. 

The Larks won the series’ first game, 6-4 and needed one more win against the Bee Jays, and help from the Dodge City A’s, to clinch the RMBL regular season title. Larks assistant coach Keith Harper said they were trying to put pressure on the Bee Jays for the second game of the series. 

“We’re playing a team that is in the league for the league championship. We want the Championship from, and they know they’re going to the hotel tonight like, man, now we have to step up our game,” Harper said. “We can come in saying we’re going to because we just took them in game one. And the difference is the pressure on them. I don’t think they lost because we were in second place. This is what it is all about winning championships.” 

However, the Bee Jays went on to clinch the RMBL regular season title with the 8-6 win at Larks Park in game two. The game was cut short in the eighth inning due to inclement weather. 

Liberal and Hays went back and forth early in the game. Liberal hit a three-run homerun in the top of the third inning, but Hays answered back with three RBI singles to even the game in the bottom of the third.

Both the Larks and Bee Jays scored three more runs in the fourth inning, but the Bee Jays started pulling away from the Larks as they scored two more runs in the final three innings of the game before the game was called in the eighth inning due to the weather in Hays.

In game one of the series, the Larks came out on top by the final score of 6-4. 

The Larks scored first as Cade Brown hit an RBI single to right field, driving in a single run in the bottom of the second Inning. In the bottom of the third inning, the Larks Ben Fierenzi hit a solo home run over the left-center wall giving the Larks a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the fourth, the Larks scored two runs but left three on the bases to lead Liberal, 4-0. By the end of the fourth inning, the Larks lead the Bee Jays 4-0. 

The Bee Jays did not go down without a fight, rallying to score three runs in the top of the seventh inning. Going into the top of the eighth inning, the Larks led the Bee Jays 4-3 with two innings left to play. The Larks switched pitchers in the top of the seventh to bring in Preston Tabor, who went on to pitch an excellent performance as he shutout the Bee Jays. By the end of the eighth, the Larks scored two more runs and went on to win the game. 

Harper knew that the Larks needed to execute in all facets of the game to be successful, especially the pitching. He cited the Larks’ ability to throw strikes for their game one win. 

“They got a couple of hits off of us. and you know what, that’s why they’re a good team is going to get those hits in a crunch time though I thought we came back, so we pitched the well,” Harper said. “Then I came in with Preston Tabor, and I just told him, you’re going to finish the game for me; believe it or not, you’re not coming out.” 

As one weekend series ended for the Larks, another quickly started as Hays welcomed the Denver Cougars to Larks Park. This series for the Larks was more manageable, as the Larks earned a 14-1 run-rule win in seven innings in the first game of the series, while the second game ended in a 6-5 victory. 

While the first game for the Cougars was a nightmare, the Cougars put in a lot of effort in game two. With the game not counting towards the RMBL, the Cougars played all of their players out of position according to Denver outfielder Adam Werchan. 

“I think that’s the big takeaway I got from the game today. I think we kind of like a nonleague game, maybe had some guys out of position in positions that are some guys lineup, you know, like some pitchers, and we just kind of went out and said, Hey, let’s just have a good time and, you know, look up at the scoreboard and what happens at the end of the game is what happens. You know, I think we put up a pretty good fight.” Cougars Adam Werchan said. 

In the bottom of the first inning, the Larks scored one run and in the second inning, the Larks earned a three-run home run from Tanner Rice, the first homer for the second baseman on the season. By the end of the second inning, the Larks were up on the Cougars 4-0. 

In the third inning, the Cougars hit a grand slam from their original first baseman, Will Brassil, to tie up the game 4-4. In the bottom of the fifth, the Larks scored two more runs to lead the Cougars. In the top of the sixth, the Cougars scored one more run. The Larks held the Cougars for the rest of the game to win. 

With the Cougars going to the NBC World Series this week, Werchan is not making the trip because he wants to see his family. Werchan expressed his thoughts on being in Hays the past couple of days. 

“I am going into my senior year of college and got a few years left of eligibility because of COVID. So I might be back with the Cougars or another team.  I like coming to Hays, being in Kansas, and having an incredible experience here. So I don’t think this will be the end for me,” Werchan said. “I may even try and transfer into Fort Hays. I like the town; I like the people here a lot. I noticed that I know a couple of guys that go here. So I wouldn’t be against that. I see the city behind the sporting events, and I love that about Hays. So, we will see.” 

With the season coming to a close, the Larks have their final home series as the Gameday Saints come into town. In game one of the series, the Larks beat the Gameday Saints by the final score of 4-3. 

The Larks finish up the series tonight against the Saints. First pitch is set for 7:00 pm at Larks Park. 

But that will not be it for the Larks, as they are set to play in the NBC World Series in Hutchinson and Wichita starting Wednesday. The World Series just announced the schedule for the tournament Sunday afternoon. The Larks are set to play in Hutchinson, starting with pool play at 3 p.m. against the Austin Shockers. 

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