by Earl Watt
• Leader & Times
If you haven’t been out to see the Bee Jays yet this season, you are missing something special. A usual pattern for the Bee Jays in recent years has been to struggle through the early stretch of the season and try to have a mad dash at the end to build momentum for the national tournament. So far, these Bee Jays haven’t struggled. Liberal is off to a 3-0 start, and while that may have something to do with the level of competition they have faced, it also indicates that this team is winning the games they are supposed to win. But the wins have not been gifts from the opposition. The Bee Jays have made some spectacular plays in the field, on the mound and at the plate that is providing an early indicator of just what this team can do. While it is always the goal to get to the national tournament, and to win it, we have been fortunate enough here to see talented teams, and to see what it takes to really ake a run. And from what I’ve seen, so far so good. It is also nice to see how success rubs off on others. Take Tyler Rockafellow Friday night. He came in with a college ERA of 5.02. He pitched six and two-thirds innings and didn’t give up a run. He had a one-hitter going into the fifth. While there are still talented players who have not yet joined the team, like recent LSU signee Jake Barrios, there are still deep roots of success with the team that is on the field. The early games are all about putting a group of nine on the field and evaluating them for league play. So far, coach Mike Silva will have some tough decisions to make. At almost every position, whoever he puts on the field is performing. That means it will be the little things that will separate those who will get more playing time. It also means that the Bee jays will be deep, a key component when seeking to make a run for a second consecutive national championship. The competition to be the best among the best is what we get to see right now. And watching the ball fly out of Brent Gould Field has been an early season treat. There has been a baserunning blooper here and there, but for the most part, the Bee Jays have done a good job of getting those who reach base across the plate. There’s no doubt that when it comes league time, the competition will get tougher, both for playing time and from the opposition. And the schedule could not be better. Liberal plays its first 13 games at home including five league games. By the time Liberal heads to Haysville for the first road trip of the season, the team should be taking shape. For now, Liberal is experiencing early success, and the excitement for a great season is building. It’s high quality baseball, and you can’t beat the price of admission — free. For many of these players, this may be the last time the fans will get to watch them play at no charge. Tonight’s game starts at 7 p.m. See you at the ballpark.