By EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
Weather may have evened the playing field Saturday night between the Liberal Bee Jays and Derby Twins, but the result was the same — a Liberal victory.
Liberal defeated Derby 3-2 to move to 7-0 overall, 3-0 in the Jayhawk League.
While the offense had its lowest output of the season, Mike McBride turned in a strong performance on the mound in the win that started 45 minutes late and had a lightning delay after the sixth inning.
Liberal opened the scoring in the top of the third when Edwin Arroyo led off the inning with a broken bat single followed by an Aaron Mees double.
Kelby Tomlinson hit a sacrifice grounder to score Arroyo, and Joe Vaskas followed with a sacrifice fly to score Mees.
McBride threw three flawless innings to start the game before giving up two runs in the fourth.
Liberal's Renny Weber walked to start the fifth inning and scored when Aaron Mees hit a single to give the Bee Jays a 3-2.
It turned out to be the game-winning RBI.
After a 45-minute lightning delay, Derby had a chance to tie the game in the eighth inning with a runner on third and only one out, but two strong defensive plays by the middle infielders left the runner stranded.
Liberal had a chance to extend the lead in the eighth by loading the bases with one out but failed to get an insurance run.
Brandon Ward-Hersee came on in the ninth, and after giving up a one-out walk was able to field a bunt that came back to the mound and begin the final double play of the game.
It was the second consecutive strong pitching performance by a Bee Jay starter. That may have mattered more Saturday night due to the low scoring contest. It was only the third game of the season where the Bee Jays did not reach double digit scoring.
"The rain delay can throw you off a little bit," McBride said. "But we stayed strong. Our defense did a great job."
Many of the Bee Jays have agreed on why they believe the team has had its early success.
"We gel together," McBride said. "Everyone gets along."
With chemistry working off the field, confidence in both the offense and defense is working on it.
"If we keep throwing strikes and swinging the bat, our defense will take care of the rest," McBride said.
Sunday's final game of the series was rained out.