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Highlights from the 2017 Bee Jay season PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 07 August 2017 07:41


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Liberal’s Jaron Robinson (5) is greeted by Kyle Schmidt (37) after Robinson’s walk-off home run against the Great Bend Bat Cats June 16. at Brent Gould Field. Liberal won 3-2. L&T photo/Earl Watt

Season provided fun memories and a Jayhawk League championship

Just how competitive was the pool for the Liberal Bee Jays at the NBC World Series? Two of Liberal’s opponents played each other for the tournament championship, that’s how.

Even with an 0-3 performance at the NBC World Series, the road to the championship still went through Liberal.

In a way, it takes a bit of the sting off this year’s tournament, and there were a number of highlights from this season that will still make this team one of the best collection of Bee Jays.

There are really only two low points of the season, the three-game sweep on the road at Great Bend and the three losses at the NBC World Series.

But let’s start with the opening-day 8-0 victory over Dodge City that set the tone for things to come.

Derby came to town, and their manager was ejected in a series that Liberal won 2-1.

One of the best moments of the season came June 16 in the first game ever between Liberal and Great Bend, and with the Bee Jays trailing 2-1 with one out in the bottom of the ninth, Colton Onstott doubled followed by a walk-off Jaron Robinson home run for a 3-2 win.

Fast forward to July 4 with Brent Gould Field packed with thousands of fans, and the Bee Jays came away with a 4-2 win before the annual fireworks display. There always seems to be something special about a season when Liberal wins on the Fourth of July.

After leading the Jayhawk League for most of the summer, it appeared that Liberal would come up short in a quest for the conference title after the three straight losses in Great Bend.

But from July 11 through July 20, Liberal would only lose one of nine games to battle back to the top of the Jayhawk League.

Liberal started with a sweep of Derby, a team that made it all the way to the semi-finals of the NBC World Series.

The announcement came that the Oklahoma Indians would be forfeiting the rest of their season, and that led to three wins for Liberal.

That meant for the Bee Jays to win the Jayhawk League, they would have to take two of three from Hays.

After splitting the first two, Liberal crushed Hays in the final game of the series, pounding out 20 hits against the Larks in an 18-6 win that secured the Jayhawk League title for the first time in 18 years.

Hays went on to the NBC World Series quarterfinals, bowing out to the Everett Merchants 10-9, a one-run loss very similar to Liberal’s one-run loss earlier in the tournament.

When looking at the entire body of work, this was a great season and a great group of players. They represented Liberal well, and we can take pride in what they accomplished.

 

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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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