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Oklahoma City forfeits come back to haunt Bee Jays PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 August 2017 07:05

By EARL WATT

• Leader & Times

When the Liberal Bee Jay bus broke down while the team headed to Wellington for a pair of tune-up games before the start of the NBC World Series Championship Week, Liberal’s season seemed to break down with it.

Prior to the bus breakdown which left the Bee Jays standed on the side of the highway, Liberal had just come off a thumping of the Hays Larks to clinch the Jayhawk League title, the team’s first in 18 years.alt

Liberal had an improbable run to get back into contention after faltering in Great Bend. The Bee Jays swept Derby and then took two out of three from Hays to claim the Jayhawk League title.

But what happened next for the Bee Jays may have hurt the team more than anyone will be willing to admit.

Liberal was scheduled to play the Oklahoma City Indians for the final three games of the regular season. But the Indians had turned in a horrible summer, and they chose to cut their season short by six games, forfeiting three to the Great Bend Bat Cats and three to the Bee Jays.

Great Bend was the first to receive the three wins, and then they still had a series to play at the end of the season.

But the three forfeits to the Bee Jays came at the end of the year, leaving Liberal with no competitive games in the final week of the season, and then the Bee Jays qualified for Championship Week, leaving them another week of no scheduled games.

The Bee Jays did schedule a pair with the Wellington Heat while the NBC World Series First Week got under way, but the gap left by missing those three Jayhawk League games couldn’t be filled.

Sure, the Bee Jays played a game with the Southwest All Stars, a team of Babe-Ruth-level talent of mostly high schoolers, but that was a seven-inning game that allowed a number of reserves a chance to play.

Baseball is a game of rhythm and repetition. With three holes at the worst time of the season, the Bee Jays never found a rhythm after that, and the momentum of an emotional win that put the Bee Jays in first place in the Jayhawk League was put on ice, never to recover.

I don’t know what the league rules are, but I hope that teams must show the ability to complete the season before being allowed to play.

While the NBC was disappointing, this season was not. Too bad we were robbed of playing the final three games to maintain momentum.

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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