First big weekend of league starts tonight PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 10 June 2011 10:04

FOURTH 
& GOAL

EARL WATT

Jumping out to a 7-1 start for the Bee Jays has been great, but this weekend will tell more about the upcoming season than anything so far.
And not just for the Bee jays.
All six teams in the Jayhawk League will be hosting their first three-game series of the season, and by Monday the league standings will paint a different picture.
In a spattering of single games, the Derby Twins have an early league lead with a 2-0 record.
But the Bee Jays have a chance to change that this weekend in a three-game set with the Twins.
Derby and Dodge City have been able to climb to the top of the conference standings, but that could mean little after Sunday if the Bee Jays take care of business at home.
In the Jayhawk League, winning at home is crucial to any hopes of a Jayhawk League title.
And winning the Jayhawk League can sometimes be just as difficult as winning the NBC World Series.
In four of the last five seasons, a Jayhawk League team has played in the national championship game.
Because the league beats up on each other through the regular season, some good teams do not even qualify for the NBC World Series.
Last year, the Hays Larks did not receive an invite until their team disbanded for the year, and then it was too late to play in the tournament.
Liberal received one of the last at-large bids three years ago and went on to finish fourth.
But it won’t be the games at the end of the conference season that earn an invitation. It can be a win or a loss this weekend that down the road will be big.
Winning early is the best way to reach Wichita, and even though the Bee Jays are the defending national champions, their play this year will determine their early opponents in the Big Dance later.
Haysville will be in Hays for the weekend, and the Larks need to turn a corner early to re-establish themselves as a contender. But Haysville has a longstanding tradition of success at Havasu before moving to Haysville, and they could make the rest of the season a long one for the Larks with an early series sweep.
El Dorado will face perhaps the biggest early turnaround in the Dodge City A’s. The A’s can prove this weekend if they are a legitimate World Series qualifier or if their early success was just a flash in the pan.
Derby will come to Liberal with momentum and confidence. Riding a wave of success could make the Twins the most difficult opponent right now. But the Bee Jays are also needing to show the league that the early loss to Dodge City was a fluke, and that they are serious about defending their national title.
All three games are free this weekend at Brent Gould Field. It should be a great weekend of baseball.

 
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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, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press.

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