BY CAYDEN SANDERS
The Hays Larks played the Gameday Saints Wednesday night in the regular season finale. The finale did not come without suspense, as the Larks won in walk-off fashion as Austin Jaslove drove in the winning run to beat the Saints 5-4.
With the game tied 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Jaslove came up to bat with two outs and runners at first and third. With one bat swing, Jaslove sent the baseball through the left-center gap giving the Larks another victory on the season, improving to 39-9 on the year.
“Being part of a program like the Tennessee Volunteers, you are put in clutch situations like this, and it does help in these situations to know what to do if you come up and you’re the guy to walk it off,” Jaslove said. “I was thinking he was going to attack me low and away, and I got enough on the ball to get it into the left-center gap.”
Gameday jumped out early in what was to be their final game of the season, scoring two runs in the first inning with a leadoff home run and an RBI single off of Larks pitcher Kaleb Meredith. The Saints struck again in the top of the fifth with another RBI single to go up 3-0.
The Larks woke up offensively in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring four runs in the half inning, starting with the bases loaded for the Larks’ shortstop Jaslove. In the at-bat, Jaslove was hit by the pitch bringing in the runner at third base. Second baseman Tanner Rice was next up for the Larks, and he provided a ground out to the Saint’s first baseman, who made a throwing error to the catcher. In the next at-bat for the Larks, Ben Feirenzi stepped up to the plate and hit an RBI single to the right fielder allowing the Larks to tie the Saints 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth.
The Larks took the lead from the Saints in the bottom of the sixth inning as the newly acquired Ben McLaughlin hit a sacrifice fly-ball to the centerfielder to give the Larks a 4-3 lead going into the seventh inning.
In the top of the seventh inning, Larks pitcher Ben Baker-Livingston left runners on the bases for the Saints to capitalize on the game in the later innings. The pressure was on with Cade Hare entering the game with runners on the bases. Hare earned the groundout for the Larks with the bases loaded but gave up a run to the Saints, tying the game 4-4.
After giving up the run, the pitcher earned another groundout to Jaslove, which created the out and stopped the runner at third. Hare finished the seventh inning with a strikeout. Hare spent the rest of the game shutting out Gameday setting up Jaslove’s walk-off hit and earning Hare another win on the season.
Jaslove talked about the postgame celebration where he got doused in water.
“I was not ready for the shower. It was really cold. I’m freezing right now. But it’s always great to get a win. So I’ll take it,” Jaslove said.
With the NBC World Series starting today, the Larks have a quick turnaround. Hays is set to play in their opening pool play game at 3:00 p.m. today against the Austin, Texas Shockers in Hutchinson, Kansas. To stay up to date with the Hays Larks this post-season, check in with our social media or our Tiger Media Network home page.