The Hays Rebels baseball team (11-1) extended its winning streak to eight straight games by virtue of a 13-2 run rule win over the Bowie Bulldogs Tuesday.
Hays used torrid bats to notch 13 runs on 11 hits through six innings in a blowout win.
“They’ve been playing with a lot of energy all year and tonight was no different,” said Hays head coach James Howard. “They understand the importance of district games and they’ve started out the season red hot. They just continue to do the little things right and playing good fundamental baseball.”
Hays starting pitcher Aidan Martinez was awarded the win after only giving up two runs and six hits over 5.2 innings pitched. Martinez brought the juice from the mound as he recorded seven strikeouts while walking four Bulldog batters.
“Aidan is a bulldog, he is going to give you that type of performance every time he takes the mound,” Howard said. “He’s just one of those guys that you wish you could run him out there every single time. Unfortunately you can’t, but you know when you do put him up there he is going to give the best he’s got and he’s always a gamer.”
After falling behind 1-0 in the first inning via a sacrifice fly by Bowie first baseman Christian Villanueva, Hays quickly turned it around in the bottom of the inning with a two-run double off the center field wall by third baseman Zane Lilljedahl. The big hit kickstarted the energy Rebels bats displayed for the rest of the game.
“I just saw it coming in high and just thought to get on it.” Lilljedahl said.
Lilljedahl also had a web gem at third base in the second inning as he leaped into the air to snag a potential double down the left field line. Lilljedahl finished the game batting 3-for-3 with three RBIs and one run scored.
“Zane is a good player, he’s very talented and he had a really good game tonight,” said Howard. “He’s seeing the ball really well and squaring balls up at the plate. He’s having great at bats just because he is having a good approach at the plate.”
Hays extended its lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the third with a two-run infield hit by Martinez, followed up by a sac-fly by catcher Jack Otto. The Rebels lead grew to 9-2 in the bottom of the fourth with a pair of RBI singles, one from Lilljedahl and the other from center fielder Chase Ruston.
Two more runs were scored in the bottom of the fourth inning via adept base running from the Rebels. One of the runs was a highlighted by pinch runner Nolan Hogan as he stole home and was called safe when the Bulldogs catcher dropped the ball in the attempt to tag him.
“They came through with some timely hitting for sure, taking advantage of a lot of walks and some errors,” Howard said. “Then we came through with some clutch hits when we really needed it. We did a good job of getting guys on base, moving them over, and then coming through with some clutch hits to score.”
Hays closed the game on an RBI sacrifice fly to center field by Garrison Vaughn.
The Rebels’ next home game is scheduled for March 12 at 7 p.m. against Akins.