By The Telegram
It was a rough start, but the Lakin Broncs baseball squad managed to do what it's done most of the season - win.
The Broncs, now 20-2, won their regional semifinal game Monday evening with a 10-5 victory over Goodland at the Goodland Class 3A regional.
They advance to the finals on Wednesday against Hays TMP (19-3), which run-ruled Ellsworth 12-2.
That final is set for 4 p.m. Wednesday at Memorial Field in Goodland.
Goodland had played a quarterfinal game earlier, defeating Holcomb 10-4, so the Cowboys were already loose when they faced the Broncs, Lakin coach Steve Davidson said.
"It was a shaky start. We were a little nervous getting started, and we made a few mistakes defensively. We hit the ball fine and got going about the fourth inning," he said.
Goodland got on the board early against starting pitcher Zach Aguilar, scoring a run in the first inning. Lakin came back in the first when Dylan Shalberg hit a single to right field that scored two.
Goodland scored four more times in the fourth inning to take a 5-3 lead, then Ryan Swank came in to record the final out and blanked the Cowboys the rest of the way.
Lakin scored three in the bottom half of the fourth to go up 6-5 before cruising the rest of the way. The big blow was Josh Walters' double to right field that plated two runs to give Lakin the lead for good.
"Zach threw the ball well, but he just got the ball over the plate a few too many times and they hit some line drives back up the middle," Davidson said. "Ryan pitched well the rest of the way."
The Broncs are looking to return to the state tournament after a one-year absence. He has confidence in his team, but he also knows that TMP will be a challenge.
"It will be a tough ball game," he said. "Pitching-wise, they're going to be tough. They'll probably throw their lefty, who throws pretty hard. They're a solid team. They're solid defensively, they're going to be aggressive on the bases. They're not a power-hitting team, but they're a team that's going to put the ball in play a lot up and down their lineup."
Lakin will counter with lefty Evan Holmes, who is 6-0 this season with a 2.80 ERA.
"We're going to have to put the ball in play and get to their pitcher and make him work. We're going to have to score some runs, obviously, but we've been doing that pretty well all year," Davidson said.
The winner advances to the 3A state tournament on May 28-29 at Manhattan.
Lakin 10, Goodland 5
Goodland 100 400 0 -- 5 11 3
Lakin 201 322 x -- 10 13 3
Lakin Aguilar, Swank (4) and Walters. G - Helton, Hillmer (4) and Kling. WP - Swank (6-0). LP - Helton.
2B - Lakin Aguilar, Walters, Magallanes.