By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
Whether they wanted to go or not, the Bee Jays have been officially eliminated from qualifying for the NBC World Series.
Liberal needed to defeat Dodge City and have Derby knock off El Dorado.Neither happened.
Liberal hit two home runs, but the fielding errors continued to plague the Bee Jays in a 7-3 loss.
After falling behind 2-0, the Bee Jays tied the game and took a 3-2 lead when Tanner Vandevere hit a solo shot over the left field fence.
Dodge City tied the game in the fifth inning and took a late lead in the eighth with two more runs for a 5-3 lead.
The Bee Jays threatened with two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the eighth but could not score.
Dodge City added two more in the ninth, and the Bee Jays failed to score in their final home at bat in the 7-3 loss.
The loss continued to add to an already disappointing season. The Bee Jays have lost eight of their last 10 games and will finish the season tonight in Dodge City.
No matter the outcome, the number of wins will be the lowest for a Bee Jay team in the 38-year history of the Jayhawk League.
The team will not attend the NBC for only the sixth time in the 60-year history of the program.
The Bee Jays did not attend twice prior to 2004. On of those seasons the Bee Jays opted for an alternative tournament in Amarillo. The other season the Bee Jays did not qualify because excessive rains prevented the team from playing the minimum number of games.
In 2004, 2005 and 2007, the Bee jays failed to qualify. In 2007, the Bee Jays had a 22-24 league record.
Following that season, the Bee Jay Board reorganized and brought back former Bee Jay supporters Bob Carlile, Jay Hay and others in an effort to turn the program back to prominence.
Carlile secured Major League’s Mike Hargrove to manage the team in 2008 and 2009, and the Bee Jays made strong runs at the NBC tournament both seasons. The team was managed by John Martin in 2010 and won the national tournament, the fifth national title in team history.
The Bee Jays participated in the NBC World Series each year since until 2014.