By Gerard Wellbrook
WICHITA – Palmer Hutchison homered and Ben McLaughlin hit a three-run homer in a five-run fourth inning and the Hayes Larks advanced to the single-elimination bracket with a 6-1 win over Lonestar in the 88th National Baseball Congress World Series. (TX) Kraken Monday night at Eck Stadium.
Kraken scored a run in the first on an infield single in the top of the fourth, but Hutchison tied the game with a home run to open the bottom of the inning. Austen Jaslov doubled off Leo Jiminan to put the Larks ahead for good. The big hit came from freshman Ben McLaughlin, who cleared it with a three-run double to right to push the lead to 5-1.
The Larks (36-9) added a run in the sixth on another double by McLaughlin.
Starting pitcher Hunter Marshall (4-0) went seven innings and allowed one run on four hits with three strikeouts and three walks. Caleb Meredith and Coby Grimley both pitched in relief.
Jiminan and Hunter Rosson both had three of the Larks’ 10 hits. Jiminian had two doubles and Rossone had one. McLaughlin added a double as the Larks collected six extra-base hits on the night.
The Larks advance to single-elimination bracket play beginning Thursday. They will open at an as-yet-undetermined time against Texas, Lonestar Baseball, last year’s runner-up.
Lonestar finished 3-0 in the pool after a 12-1 win over the 316 Sluggers in Monday’s late game.