Liberal’s Zach Reding collides at home plate with Derby’s catcher in the second inning of Sunday’s rubber match game with the Twins. Reding knocked the ball loose at contact and scored to give the Bee Jays a 2-1 lead. Derby would get the last laugh, winning the game, 7-2. L&T photo/ChrisLinenbroker
Bee Jays rally to take Game 2 from Derby
By JASON EPP
Leader & Times
The Liberal Bee Jays bounced back from their Game 1 loss to the Derby Twins by rallying to win Game 2, 5-2.
“Tonight was a lot better job all the way around,” Bee Jays manager Adam Anderson said. “Ray Ashford came out and just competed with everything he had. The pitching stayed linked up, and they didn’t take a pitch off. Our offense hung around and scratched a run and scratched a run. It was a complete game.”
After three innings the Bee Jays trailed 2-0, and had yet to muster a man on base. But after shutting down the Twins with a double play to end the top half of the fourth, the Bee Jays finally got on the board.
Zach Reding reached on a walk, then stole second to get in scoring position. Brady Cox reached when the second basemen committed a throwing error, and Reding motored home to get Liberal on the board.
In the sixth Alec Isaac led off the bottom half of the inning with a triple to right centerfield. Reding followed with a single
to centerfield. Two batters later Mike Rampone doubled to center to score Reding, and the Bee Jays took the lead, 3-2.
The Bee Jays added to their lead in the eighth when Reding homered over the right field fence into a stiff wind. Rampone singled with two outs, and eventually scored after Derby pitchers gave up three straight free bases to make the score 5-2.
“It was good to see our guys keep competing and not give up against a great pitcher,” Anderson said. “The game came around and we took advantage of it.”
Ray Ashford got the win, going seven innings giving up one earned run and one walk while striking out eight. Nick Jones pitched a shutout in the eighth. Tyler Wiedenfield got the save with a scoreless ninth.
Mike Rampone was 3-3 with a walk, a double, an RBI, and a run scored. Zach Reding was 2-3 with a walk, a home run, two RBI, three runs scored, and a stolen base.
The win evened the Bee Jays overall record at 11-11. Their Jayhawk League record improved to 7-11.
Game 3: Missed opportunities doom Bee Jays
The Bee Jays looked to be off and running early in the their rubber match game with Derby. But as opportunities came late in the game, Derby took advantage of theirs; the Bee Jays did not it a 7-2 loss.
Trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh after giving up three runs in the top half of the inning, Liberal looked to be in position to tie or retake the lead.
Brennan Johnson led off with a single to left center and Kyle Leiser followed with a walk. Both moved into scoring position with a passed ball.
Two runners in scoring position with no outs and the top of the Bee Jays lineup up next.
The runs never materialized as Derby pitching got the Bee Jays to fly out, then a pair of strikeouts to end the threat.
“We squandered several opportunities with men on base,” Bee Jays manager Adam Anderson said. “We didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we had, they did. It was the kind of game where a big hit here or there could have made a big difference. We had it set up just the way we wanted to with the top of the lineup up with men in scoring position but we couldn’t make it happen.”
Six of the first seven innings the Bee Jays got their lead off man on base. Only once did that lead to a run.
Derby score three more insurance runs in the final two innings while the Bee Jays failed to get a baserunner on over the final two innings.
The Twins led off the game with a run in the top of the first with the Bee Jays ending the inning with their first of two double plays.
In the bottom half of the inning, Alec Isaac led off with a double. Zach Reding followed up with an RBI double to knot the game at one. Seth Stevens popped up to left, and Reding was ruled safe at home on the play after a big collision at the plate to put Liberal up 2-1.
Derby hit a fly to left in the top of the second, but Isaac made a great throw home for the third out.
Bee Jay starter Robert Dugger got a no decision, going six and two-thirds with six strikeouts and a walk.
Before Derby's rally in the seventh, Bee Jay pitchers had gotten out nine straight batters.
The Bee Jays are now 11-12 overall and 7-12 in the Jayhawk League.