Aggression at the plate proved beneficial for the Hays Rebels Tuesday as they rolled to a 9-4 come-from-behind win over the crosstown rival Lehman Lobos at the Rebel baseball field.
Hays’ win, which was the team’s third straight, secured the best-of-3 district series with the Lobos. It also marked the second straight district series Hays has won.
Lehman, however, dropped the team’s fourth straight district contest and the team’s third straight series.
The Lobos wasted little time in developing a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. After Hays responded with runs in the bottom of the first and second frames, Lehman countered with a run in the top of the third that came via an RBI single from Luke Stanaland.
Toby Robinson, Lehman High head baseball coach, said the team practices a balanced offensive attack and put it on display in the first two innings.
Lehman led 4-2 and held control of momentum.
“We go out there swinging, we put the ball in play and got runners on,” Robinson said. “We’ve hit the ball hard all year long.”
All of that changed in the next half inning as Rebel bats pounded four runs on four hits, highlightd by a two-run home run by Adrian Cisneros.
Hays head baseball coach James Howard said the Rebels had good approaches at the plate, which focused on looking for pitches earlier in the count.
Howard said the Rebels also focused on taking things “one pitch at a time.” He said the team has struggled with being too defensive at times, often swinging for contact and not to drive the ball.
“Tonight, we were the aggressor and we went to the plate with great approaches early in the county,” Howard said. “We took advantage of some situations and hit some good, hard shots.”
With a 6-4 lead in hand, Hays turned to its pitching staff and defense to stymie Lobo bats.
Hays pitcher Roman Ruiz, who earned the win by pitching in relief of starter Aidan Martinez, went four innings and gave up three hits while striking out three batters.
Behind him, the Rebel defense make key plays in the field to limit the Lobo offense scoreless in the final four frames.
“Roman did a great job. It was obvious Aidan didn’t have his great stuff tonight,” Howard said. “Roman worked ahead in counts and got the ball in the play. The defense behind him made plays when they needed to.”
Lehman’s pitching staff, however, was unable to halt the Rebel offense. Hays tallied three combined runs in the fifth and sixth innings and finished the game with 13 total hits.
While Howard said there are things to clean up on defense, gathering a win in district was imperative.
“There’s not a bigger game than one in this district,” Howard said. “A win against Lehman is as big as a win over Westlake. If we focus on the fundamentals, good things will happen.”