Larks season comes to a close in NBC World Series final

BY CAYDEN SANDERS

The Hays Larks season came to an end Saturday night in the Championship game of the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, falling to the three-time champion Santa Barbra Foresters 12-1. 

“It has been a great experience, being here you have great fans, and alot of support from the community and their is nothing like it,” Austin Jaslove said. “I hope to come back and experience it again next year.” 

Santa Barbra scored runs early against the Larks, earning two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Nick Mclain hit an RBI single to get the first score on the board. Later that inning, Blaine Jones hit an RBI double to bring another run. 

In the bottom of the second, the Forsters got another RBI single from Gianni Horat. Miguel Santos also hit an RBI single to give the Forsters a 4-0 lead. A wild pitch scored a runner from third, and a balk was called later in the inning. Santa Barbra also earned a run on a sacrifice flyball from Nate Rombach. 

The Larks finally got a score on the board in the 5th inning, as Hunter Rosson drove a one-run homerun to left-center field. However, Santa Barbara answered with a Horvat line drive down the third base line, driving the lead to 7-1. Santos earned another hit on a ground-rule double and by the end of the sixth inning, the Foresters had racked up an 11-1 lead. Santa Barbra tacked on their final run in the 8th inning. 

The Larks’ season did end in a loss but came at the hands of a really good baseball club with an NBC Hall of Fame and MLB scout in Head Coach Bill Pintard. The Foresters’ 30-man lineup is made up of Division I schools all across the country with 16 of Santa Barbra’s players coming from schools that made it to the NCAA postseason.

“It is always good to play competition like this, it makes us as ball players continue to grind and continue to get better,” Jaslove said. “I have a teammate from Tennessee on the team for the Foresters and it was fun to play against them.” 

While the Larks didn’t have the star power the Foresters had, they still managed to compete well in the tournament going 3-1 in pool play. Hays beat the Austin Shockers, opening up the tournament with an 8-0 victory. In the second game, the Larks lost to the Seatle Studs 6-3. 

In the final game of pool play the Larks dealt with a win-or-go-home situation as the Larks needed to win the game against the Lonestar Kraken to advance to the tournament rounds. The Larks went on to win the game and earned the second spot from their group. 

The Larks started the bracket tournament of the NBC World Series against the Lonestar Baseball Club. Lonestar scored first, but it was the Larks’ eighth inning that gave the team an edge over the Lonestar Baseball Club. The Larks won the opening round 5-2 

To get to the Championship game, the Larks had to beat league foe the Liberal Bee Jays. With this being a significant game between the two teams the tempers were high, and no love was lost between the two teams. 

Liberal was the first team on the board with a single homerun. The Larks struck within the next half inning as Garrett Gruell drove in Dylan Drieling. Leo Jiminian joined in on the offense as he drove in Gruell. In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Bee Jays came back with a run of their own tying the game up 2-2. Gruell struck again as he hit a home run over the leftfield wall and gave the Larks a 4-2 lead. In the top of the ninth Palmer Hutchison put the nail in the coffin for the Liberal Bee Jays as he hit a two-run home run in over the left field wall. 

“It was a great team win against Liberal, we have been waiting for this match up since the game at home and glad the outcome came out the way it did,” Hutchison said. 

The win set up Hays’ game against the Foresters. 

As the season has come to an end some of the players within the Larks organization have found new schools during their time on the Larks. Outfielder Jack Torrosian was a part of the Hutchinson Blue dragons, he will now be attending the University of Creighton. Pitcher and first baseman Cade Brown was a part of the Oklahoma Sooners, but he is transferring to Murray State University in Kentucky. Finally, local product Palmer Hutchison played for Kansas City Community College but found a new home at Emporia State University. 

“I am excited to continue my career at Emporia State, its the next step in career and I cant wait to see where that takes me,” Hutchison said

The Larks organization will be looking forward to the next season and looking for new players and new employees. Stay tuned for more news on the Larks news as the next season ramps up. 

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