By SHAWN YORKS
• Leader & Times
LIBERAL — The Liberal Redskins opened the 2011 baseball campaign with a double-header split against Hugoton Tuesday at the Liberal Athletic Complex. But in the first game, it was all Hugoton, all the time in a 12-1 win for the Eagles.
Liberal (1-1) held an early lead in game two, Hugoton broke it open for a 10-4 advantage, then the Redskins bats came alive. Liberal scored 11 runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to pull away for a 15-10 win.
“I thought Hugoton played pretty well,”?Liberal head coach Eric Olmstead said. “We just struggled in the first inning. Didn’t play bad after that, but struggled in the first inning.”
The first inning of game one saw Hugoton (1-1) plate eight runs as 12 batters came to the plate against Liberal starter Tyson Deaton.
The problem in the first game for the Redskins was errors. Six in all, including two in the first inning that accounted for three Eagles runs.
Olmstead doesn’t know why the Redskins got off to such an inauspicious start.
“I have no clue,”?he said. “I felt like we were more prepared this year mentally, defensively and so on than we have been in the past.
“We’re going to put that one behind us. I’m glad to see how we came out and played game two.”
Hugoton led 10-4 heading into the bottom of the fifth. But the Redskin bats finally came alive.
“We got pretty solid pitching and solid defense,”?Olmstead said. “We hit the ball better, which was key for us because in the first game we didn’t get anything going.”
Jared Hall pitched four innings, Freddie Gomez two and Dustin Loftis closed it out.
Liberal scored 11 in the fifth to win it. Deaton walked, Hall, Bryan Morris, Juan Fraire and Lorenzo Pando had four hits in a row, including a double by Fraire. Gomez walked and Dalton Rutledge singled in the inning.
“That was good to see, had a little fire in our belly,” Olmstead said. “We kind of got to their relief (pitchers) a little bit.”
Liberal travels to Ulysses next Tuesday and hosts Guymon, Okla. April 2.
• The JV Redskins also earned a split with the Eagles, winning the first game 12-1 before falling 7-6 in the nightcap.
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