“If we could have just minimized that inning a little bit, held them to three runs, maybe it’s different rest of the game,” Larks manager Frank Leo said. “I thought every one of those guys had good at-bats. They had a plan, looked like.”
The A’s hit three straight RBI singles to make it 3-0, followed by an opposite-field, two-run double to left-center by Owen Jansen. Blomster (1-2) took the loss, surrendering five runs over five innings. Left-hander Ryan Ruder tossed a scoreless inning, left-hander Toby Scoles pitched 1 2/3 innings and right-hander Shane Browning, who just joined the club, got the final four outs, allowing an unearned run in the ninth.
The highlight for the Larks was an inside-the-park home run in the seventh by catcher Scott Wolverton. He led off the inning with a high drive to deep center field. A’s center fielder Kyle Cullen crashed into the wall trying to make the catch and fell to the warning track. By the time left fielder Jordan Vujovich picked up the ball and threw it to the infield, Wolverton was already steaming around third and scored standing up.
“When I hit it, I knew I got a good piece of it, I started sprinting around the bases as hard as I could,” said Wolverton of his first homer of the summer. “When I saw he dropped it I was coming around second base. Coach said keep going, made it all the way.”
Wolverton said his last inside-the-park homer likely came in high school. He was happy to dispel the myth that catchers are slow.
“I’m trying to prove them wrong, for sure,” he said with grin.
The Larks’ other run scored on an RBI groundout by Devin Hager in the fourth inning. Hays threatened in the eighth, loading the bases with two outs, but leadoff man Ryne Randle hit a high fly ball to right to end the inning.
“We had the right guy up,” Leo said. “He just missed that pitch; he got it on the barrel but got under it a little bit.”
Dodge City starter Brady Rodriguez worked the first five innings to pick up the victory. The left-hander allowed one run before giving way to three relievers as Dodge City improved to 6-6 in league play.
“I think he was keeping us off-balance a little bit,” Wolverton said. “He was throwing his stuff pretty well.”
The Larks scored 26 runs in their last game but struggled to score Monday.
“It’s just part of the game,” Wolverton said.
The Larks are off Tuesday before playing the A’s in Dodge City on Wednesday. After another off day Thursday, Hays (15-5 overall, 9-4 Jayhawk) starts a three-game series with the Haysville Aviators on Friday at Larks Park. Friday’s game is Military Appreciation Night and Saturday’s game is Larkstoberfest and Old Timers Night.