By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
Mike Rampone began his Liberal Bee Jay career with an RBI double in the second inning, and the smash to left center opened a steady stream of runs that ended with a 12-3 win over the albuquerque Diablos and a 3-0 start to the season.
The Bee Jays belted out 15 hits against the Diablo pitching staff throughout the night, and the Bee jays have yet to bat in the ninth inning this year, winning all three games without needing their final three outs.
Bryson Allen had a solid weekend for the Bee Jays starting with defensive plays at center field.
Saturday night, Allen ran down a line drive to left center and made a highlight catch on a dive.
Sunday, Allen went four-for-five with two doubles and two singles, and RBI and scored a run.
Liberal trailed midway through the second inning, 3-0 when Travis Orwig walked four batters and an error by right fielder Patrick Kulick allowed three runs to score on only one hit.
Liberal answered with two runs in the bottom of the second sparked by a Brady Cox single and Rampone’s RBI double.
Nick Jones relieved Orwig to start the third inning, and he pitched four shutout innings.
During that time, the Bee Jays continued to push runs across the plate. By the time Adam Anderson relieved Nick Jones to start the seventh inning with Glen Warrick, the Bee Jays had an 8-3 lead.
Three of those runs came in the bottom of the sixth when Dereck Jones came to the plate after back-to-back singles from Justin McCarty and Bryan Haberstroh. Jones attempted to lay down a bunt to advance the runners, but the ball sailed by Diablos first baseman Justin Templin. McCarty and Haberstroh scored on the overthrow, and Jones rounded the bases to beat the throw home to score on the bunt attempt.
Anderson continued to trotate pitchers, ending the night with five hurlers seeing action. Orwig, Jones, Warrick, Corty Steifel and Blake Rogers combined for a four-hitter.
Liberal added a two more runs in the seventh and eighth innings in the 12-3 win.
Saturday, the Bee Jays used strong defensive plays like Allen’s diving catch to keep the Diablos of the bases, and Alec Isaac hit two triples and a single to go along with a two doubles from Kyle Leiser and a four-run eighth inning to top the Diablos 7-2.
The Bee Jays will attempt to sweep the four-game series at 7 p.m. tonight at Brent Gould Field before taking two days off and opening Jayhawk League play at 7 p.m. Thursday against the Dodge City A’s.