LAKIN — Opening day of the Class 3A baseball regional in Lakin saw two run-rule games sandwiched around a nailbiter.
Host Lakin scored 11 runs on 10 hits — in just the first inning — to take out Cimarron, 12-0, in five innings in the late game.
In game one, Colby took out Southwestern Heights, 11-0, in four innings.
And in the middle game, Scott City, behind Kevin Herman’s no-hitter, came back to down Goodland, 4-2.
In Lakin’s win, the Broncs sent 15 hitters to the plate in the opening frame, scoring their 11 runs — though, they scored just one more over the next three innings.
Hunter Kirby picked up the win, throwing just 36 pitches in three innings. And with one out in the first, it was Kirby who started the Broncs’ scoring deluge with a double, and catcher Dawsen Shalberg plated him with a triple. He scored on Khai Hernandez’s single.
Two hitters later, Logan Gugelmeyer drove in two more runs with a single and give his team a 4-0 lead.
When the top of the order came around again, the first five hitters each drove in another run, and when the dust cleared, Lakin had its 11-0 lead. They scored a 12th run in the fourth on a fielder’s choice.
Lakin finished with 12 hits and left just two on base, while Kirby and reliever Jace Bachman combined for a two-hitter.
Kirby struck out six of the 10 batters he faced, and only once did Cimarron get an extra hitter to the plate in their five innings.
Lakin coach Steve Davidson couldn’t be happier with how things started as the Broncs look to get back to the state tournament for the first time since his seniors were freshmen.
“What a first inning,” he said. “You can’t ask for a first inning any better than that.”
Twice that inning, the Broncs had five straight hits and took advantage of an error and a walk.
“We were fortunate to hit some in the gaps. That’s what I like to see. A couple of times they hit it deep to right center, which you have to do against hard pitching.”
Kirby got some good quality innings, Davidson said.
“He threw strikes. That’s what he had to do. He wants to stay out there and pitch all the time,” he said. “He got a normal workout, and he’ll be good to go to be a hundred percent without a doubt on Wednesday.”
Second-seeded Lakin (18-3) will now face Colby, a team the Broncs split with for one of its losses just two weeks ago, losing 7-6 when they gave up two runs in the bottom of the seventh.
“A good ball club,” Davidson said of the Eagles. “They’ll have all their pitchers ready because the two they threw today, nobody went over 40 (pitches) so they should be at their best. It’ll be who goes out there, and makes plays and who puts the ball in play.”
Cimarron starter Dylan Harrison settled down after the opening inning, pitching innings two through four in order, including striking out the side in the third.
The Bluejays finished their inaugural season at 5-15.
In the second game, Scott City fell behind 1-0 after three, but responded with a run of their own in the fourth on Kevin Serrano’s single.
They opened up things with three in the fifth behind two hits and two Goodland errors, and gave up just one more run on an error for the win.
The Beavers (7-7) will take on top-seed Hays-TMP (17-1) in the 2 p.m. game. Lakin and Colby will follow.
The winners will face off for the regional title.