Hays Larks

Larks pitch in on the mound

By Randy Gonzales

HAYS – Even though the Hays Larks owned a 12-game winning streak entering Monday
night’s KCLB game at Liberal, manager Frank Leo was concerned about his short-handed
pitching staff.

 |  2019

The Larks rallied for a wild, 18-12 win Sunday night against Park City, with two position
players taking the mound, and one of them getting the victory. Earlier in the weekend, Leo
learned that right-hander Michael Wong – who he was counting on to anchor this season’s staff –
was out for the summer. Wong had some shoulder trouble at Texas-Arlington this spring, and
Leo planned to work him in slowly this summer, perhaps letting pitch in this week’s four-game
series at Liberal.
“He was making some progress here, shoulder was feeling good,” Leo said. “We knew it
was going to be a slow process to get him back on the mound.”
Wong had yet to take the mound this year. But Texas-Arlington elected to shut Wong
down. Last summer for Hays, the right-hander was 4-1 with a 2.77 ERA.
“Michael had an outstanding year for us last summer,” Leo said. “We knew what we
were getting in him. We were counting on him to give a boost.”
Right-hander Christian Pearcy (3-0, 1.50 ERA) was scheduled to pitch Monday’s series
opener, followed by right-hander Wyatt Divis and left-handers Mason Myhre and Michael
Gilliland. The bullpen is thin, with left-hander Ryan Ruder a long reliever and right-handers
Rustin Hays and Tommy Garcia penciled in for late-inning situations.
Leo is still looking for pitching help, knowing he can’t keep relying on position players.
Infielder Matt Cavanagh took over on the mound with two outs in the first on Sunday and the
Larks trailing 11-0. He allowed one run in 3 1/3 innings. After Gilliland tossed three shutout
innings, infielder Brook Brannon pitched two scoreless innings to pick up the victory.
“Matt Cavanagh has thrown several times for us, looked really good,” Leo said. “Brook
Brannon threw two innings (Sunday) night, looked like something that might be serviceable for
us.”

On Monday, Leo still wasn’t sure what to make of Sunday’s comeback win.
“I’m still trying to figure out what happened,” Leo said. “It was unreal.”
When you’re batting .362 as a team, anything can happen when you have time to rally.
“Our offense, with that many innings left in the game, we always have a chance,” Leo
said.
Now, it’s Liberal, Hays’ longtime rival from the Jayhawk League days. Both teams join
Dodge City in the West Division of the KCLB.
“Not so much the rivalry; that’s the team we need to beat if we want to win the West,”
Leo said. “We’ve got to beat Dodge and Liberal. We talked about it. We know how big the series
is.”


Randy Gonzales

Randy is a long time writer for various newspapers and has a passion for sports. He has been writing about the Hays Larks for years and we are proud to have him around!

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