By EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
There was a number of reasons Will Alvis was nervous when he took the mound Tuesday in the Jayhawk League opener against Dodge City. For one, he hadn’t thrown the first pitch i a game for quite some time.
“This was my first start since high school,” Alvis said after throwing seven innings and only giving up one run in a 5-1 Bee Jay win. “I got in a groove.”
While Alvis was grooving on the mound, the Bee Jays were finding another way to win at the plate.
After four games of overpowering opponents, the Bee Jays proved they could grind out runs as well.
With a 1-0 lead in the fourth, Sam Konnoff led off with a single and Joe Perez followed with another base hit to give the Bee Jays runners at first and second.
Mike McCarthy laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line that moved the runners into scoring position.
Mark Gomez hit a deep fly ball to score Konnoff before Aaron Mees grounded out to end the inning.
But the willingness of two Bee Jays to sacrifice to score a run with the two lead-off hitters was not lost on Alvis.
“The key was McCarthy getting the bunt down to advance the runners,” the Bee Jay pitcher said.
An error on Bee Jay third baseman Kelby Tomlinson allowed the only Dodge City run to score in the fifth, but Tomlinson made up for the fielding miscue by hitting a lead-off single in the bottom half of the inning.
Joe Vaskas followed with a hit, and Richard Bohlken also reached and scored Tomlinson to give the Bee Jays a 3-1 lead.
Later in the inning, the Bee Jays used the first and third steal to score Bohlken before registering the third out in a rundown at first to put the Bee Jays ahead 4-1.
Liberal added another run in the sixth when McCarthy singled and Gomez doubled. A passed ball allowed McCarthy to score.
Dodge City never posed a serious threat in the final three innings, and the Bee Jays opened the Jayhawk League with a 5-1 win.
“Everybody knew we would have to play better,” Alvis said. “These guys are fundamentally sound. But we were ready.”
Liberal will get two days off before returning to Brent Gould Field for their sixth consecutive home game Friday when they host the Derby Twins. Admission is free, courtesy the Daily Leader.