By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
The slide continued for the Bee Jays over the weekend, and their hopes of receiving a guaranteed bid to the NBC World Series took a blow when the first-pace Wellington Heat swept the weekend series at Brent Gould Field.
The Bee Jays had their chances, but the weekend again became a missed opportunity by losing two one-run games and by giving up a solid start by Justin Schnedler Saturday.
The Bee Jays are 27 in their last nine games and have slipped to fifth place in the Jayhawk League. Only the top three teams have guaranteed spots in the NBC World Series, but since Wellington already qualified as last year’s national runners-up, four Jayhawk teams will receive invitations.
Liberal entered the weekend with a one-and-a-half game lead over El Dorado, but while the Bee Jays were faltering against the Heat, the Broncos won two of three against the Dodge City A’s to take a half-game lead on the Bee Jays for the final guaranteed spot.
Schnedler gave the Bee Jays a solid chance at victory Saturday by pithing six solid innings and only allowing one run on two hits and an error.
When Schnedler came off the mound, the Bee Jays had a 2-1 lead.
But that changed in a hurry.
Wellington scored four runs in the seventh and five runs in the eighth against the Bee Jay bullpen, and the Bee Jays were down 10-2.
The Bee Jays scored a run in the eighth, but so did the Heat in the top of the ninth.
Down 11-3, the Bee Jays pushed five runs across the plate in the bottom of the ninth and had the tying run at the plate before the Heat held on for an 11-8 win.
The Bee Jays jumped out to an early 2-0 lead Sunday but again watched their lead disappear in a 7-6 loss.
The Bee Jays battled the Heat even through eight innings, but Wellington scored in the top of the ninth, and all three Bee Jay batters struck out in the ninth.
Liberal received some help from Dodge City Sunday when the Broncos lost to the A’s 5-3 to keep the Bee Jays only a half game form the automatic NBC bid.
Liberal will end the season with two games against Dodge while El Dorado has a double header with Wellington and a game against Derby.
Liberal’s final home game of the year will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
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