With a high offensive output, the Hesston College baseball team was able to keep the offense rolling all weekend. The strong start allowed for a four game sweep of the Cougars of Highland Community College, Freeport, Ill. Two victories came on Saturday, 15-14 and 18-8, and the other two on the back of Sunday’s doubleheader, 8-5 and 9-8.
The bats started off hot for the Larks. Game one, inning one saw the Larks jump out to a 7-1 lead. The Larks would score at least one run in every inning for the rest of the day. This did not mean the game was over, however. In the fifth and sixth innings the Cougars got their bats going scoring eight and four runs and taking a 14-13 lead going into the bottom of the sixth.
Keeping with the offensive theme of the weekend, the Larks were able to retake the lead in the bottom of the sixth then close the door with a shutout defensive top of the seventh.
The second game on Saturday felt like an extension of game one. More scoring. Josh Stivers went 4-4, scoring five and driving in four. Logan Dryden went 3-4 and David Berzins went 3-3 while driving in two. Kalen Haynes picked up the win on three innings pitched and five strikeouts. “Offensively this was a special weekend,” said Head Coach Kyle Howell.
The special weekend concluded on Sunday afternoon with more winning baseball from the Larks. They were able to keep the every-inning scoring going until the third inning of game three. The Larks needed three in the fourth to recapture the lead and earn a victory in game two. Bradley McBride went the duration on the mound, striking out 12 on five earned runs.
Game four was a little more dramatic as the Cougars and Larks needed extra innings to decide a winner. After Highland knocked in two to start the eighth, the Larks had their work cut out for them. After getting one back on a sacrifice to start the inning, Nariki Fujimura stepped to the plate hoping to drive in the game-tying-run. He singled up the middle, doing just that. Then the shortstop threw the ball away, allowing the Larks to score the game winning run on the defensive error. Just like that the Larks were 4-0 on the weekend.
“I’m really proud of our guys this weekend,” said Coach Howell. “It’s extremely hard to beat anyone four straight times but this puts us in a great spot moving forward.”
Next up for the Larks is NJCAA Region VI D1 competition, Cloud County. Double headers will take place on Friday starting at 3 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m. at home.