By Moses leos III
For three innings Friday, the Lehman Lobos were seemingly on their way to ending their two game losing streak to the Hays Rebels.
But a two inning Lehman meltdown allowed Hays to rally, as the Rebels cruised to a 7-4 win at Hays High.
“Early district games are important,” Hays head coach David Null said. “It’s an incredibly tough district so anytime you can get a district win, it’s a big deal.”
Seven combined runs scored in the fourth and fifth innings spurred Hays’ comeback; six of the runs were earned.
Adjusting to Lehman starting pitcher Micah Tambur proved successful for the Rebels. Tambur went four innings, giving up four runs on four hits. He struck out five batters.
Hays’ Josh Burnett said communication and “talking to each other” helped Hays decipher Tambur’s style.
“We had to adjust to the off-speed and all kinds of stuff,” Burnett said. “We had to sit back and let it travel.”
It was Tambur that proved a pivotal force in the first three innings. Using a powerful fastball and a deceptive breaking pitch, Tambur faced the minimum nine batters, recording five strikeouts.
Lehman’s offense countered by scoring a unearned run in the first inning off of Hays pitcher Trey Dickerson.
They added a run in the second inning, started by a single from Luis Jimenez. Following a stolen base from Jimenez, Lobo Jesse Garcia drove in the run with an RBI double. Lehman held a 2-0 lead and momentum.
The tone changed when Burnett led off the top of the fourth inning. Burnett turned on a pitch from Tambur, belting home run to left field that was nearly caught at the wall.
“I knew we needed kind of a kick start,” Burnett said. “After going three up three down in the first two innings, you have to get up and you have to find a way to do that.”
Hays continued the onslaught, scoring three more runs on three hits. Hays continued by scoring three runs in the fifth inning off of Lehman relief pitcher Joshua Tirk. The Rebels were aided by two Lobo errors and a passed ball.
Hays held a 7-2 lead and proceeded to hold it from there. Dickerson, who went 5.1 innings, guided the Rebel defense; he threw six strikeouts and gave up eight hits. Null said changing speeds helped Dickerson thrive in the latter innings.
He was also helped by a tenacious defense that came through with several spectacular plays. It was all highlighted by a diving grab from center fielder Mike Gonzales in the seventh inning that kept a run from scoring.
“I started off slow, but whenever I found it, I was on,” Dickerson said. “I went right after them and let my defense do the work.”
Lehman fought to pull even in the latter innings. Their best opportunity came in the sixth inning. The Lobos scored two runs on two hits, and had the bases loaded with one out.
Dickerson recorded the last two outs to end the threat.
For Lehman head coach Toby Robinson, moving on from Friday’s loss will be the focus.
“If we take care of our business, and move the ball around and move runners around, we have nothing to worry about,” Robinson said.