Huge rally lifts Larks to sweep of Park City

STORY BY HAILEY CHAPMAN
VIDEO BY GABE WARRICK

On Sunday night, the Hays Larks hosted their annual Little League Night. Local youth teams were invited to mingle with and cheer on the team in their series finale. The high attendance crowd was given quite the show as the Larks overcame an 11-run deficit to sweep Park City. The performance improved their record to 12-1 with an 18-12 win at Larks Park.

Larks starting pitcher Nash Neff had a rough outing on the day, lasting only one inning, where he gave up six hits, four walks and one strikeout. Four of the 11 runs scored were earned, and the Rangers were able to capitalize on a solo home run before Neff was retired and replaced by Matt Cavanagh.

Cavanagh was able to get the Larks out of the inning and put in three innings of work with one unearned run scoring on four hits, one walk and three strikeouts.


The Larks struck big in the bottom of the third with six runs to cut the lead to five. In the top of the fourth, the ball was again turned over to Michael Gilliland. He allowed one run, but was able to silence the Rangers’ offense with only one hit, three walks and six strikeouts in three innings of work.

The bottom of the fourth was big for designated hitter Mikey Gangwich, who sent a no-doubter over the right field fence to score two, making the score 12-8. The ball was then turned over to Larks third baseman and closer Brook Brannon, who threw the final two innings — allowing one hit, followed by three consecutive outs to end the game.

Park City was able to dance out of danger, leaving the bases loaded after a Larks rally in the bottom of the seventh that pulled across only one run. The tables turned in the bottom of the eighth, however, with an explosive eight-run inning.

Two errors allowed the Larks to continue piling on runs as they grabbed the lead 18-12 after three Ranger pitching changes in the inning.

Brannon was granted the win on the mound in his first appearance pitching with the Larks.

Game leaders at the plate:

  • #18 Mikey Gangwich — 2 for 3 with a two-run home run and 2 RBI’s.
  • #24 Hernan Yanez — 3 for 3 with three RBI’s.
  • #8 George Southerland — 3 for 6 with two RBI’s.
  • #9 Justin Lee — 3 for 6 with two RBI’s .
  • #26 Jarrod Belbin — 2 for 5 with a solo home run and three RBI’s.

The Larks start their series against longtime rival Liberal tonight in Liberal, with first pitch at 7 p.m.

A Hays Lark signs the ballcaps of three young fans as they chat in between games during the annual Little League Night. Photo by Hailey Chapman

Mikey Gangwich is greeted at the dugout by teammates after a rally-starting 2-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Photo by Hailey Chapman

Two Larks players chat with fans on annual little league night. Youth teams throughout northwestern Kansas were invited out to watch the series finale against the Park City Rangers. Photo by Hailey Chapman

Rustin Hays rallies the dugout around a “firepit” made of bats as they pull across eight runs in the bottom of the eighth to secure their win against Park City. photo by Hailey Chapman

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